People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 21

June 02,2002



Tribals’ Huge Rally Under DYFI Banner


Tikender Singh Panwar


THE mighty valley of Satluj basin in the tribal district  of Kinnaur, in Himachal Pradesh, rented with the slogans of 'DYFI Zindabad' and ‘Killer JP Industries Go Back’. More than 2500 youth gathered around the National Highway 22 in hamlet Tapri on May 23, 2002 demanding the scrapping of a project granted to the "notorious" JP Industries. The youth rallying under the banner of DYFI were also demanding the BJP-led state government to fulfill the just demands of the tribal people.


This area possesses a large source of power generation in the form of natural perennial water in Satluj river. But the capitalist style of power generation by getting the work done mainly by private companies has played havoc with the area. As earlier reported in these columns, the natural grassland, orchards and springs have dried up. The displaced population has neither been rehabilitated nor employment guaranteed in these projects.


The present struggle pertains to a new project in the offing, which has been sold to the JP Industries. The notoriety of JP is well documented. He has modern 'managerial skills' to his credit, whereby he throws the dead workmen (the nature of work is very dangerous and accident-prone) into the Satluj or dumps with the muck coming out of the tunnels. But, that is another part of the story. The project that he is constructing is very dangerous to the terrain and will affect the already sliding villages of Meeru, Ula and Urui. Hence this major demand ‘no project’ has been taken up.


It is in this background that the rally was organised in Tapri. The mobilisation came from 16 panchayats. A cross section of the population participated. The leaders who addressed the gathering apart from the local leaders included the former MLA from Shimla and president of state CITU, Rakesh Singha, former PWD minister of the state and president of Lok Jan Shakti party, Mahender singh Mahender Singh, vice president of DYFI Himachal state committee, Daleep Kaisth, president of DYFI Nichar block, Sukhdev Negi and others. The leaders lambasted the state government for hoodwinking the interests of the tribals and playing into the hands of the industrial lobby. The speakers categorically reiterated the demand of the people that the JP Industries would not be allowed to construct this project and the government would have to widhdraw its decision bowing to the will of the people.


The other major issues and demands taken up include:


·        an inquiry into the alleged sexual exploitation of tribal women at the hands of J.P functionaries.

·        enhancement of grant to the tribal areas.     

·        construction of a road from Kandahar to Rupi.

·        inquiry into the assets of certain BJP leaders of the area who have been gifted bungalows in Panchkula and Pune.

·        proper compensation to be made to the people for laying of tower lines of already constructed projects.


As the terrain of Kinnaur district is very tough, the target of mobilising people from 16 panchayats consumed almost one month of work of DYFI cadres. In Kinnaur, the population density is 11 persons per square kilometer whereas that of Himachal is 93 persons per square kilometer.


Initially the DYFI was formed with the help of CITU working in the Nathpa Jhakri project. When chauvinist slogans were given by a particular group (BJP Led) to oppose the CITU on chauvinist lines, the CITU understood the importance and need of ‘all in unity’ of the working people and the toiling masses of the area. To organise DYFI was taken as a priority task and initially the help of the workers was taken.