ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Murder of Sr Valsa

The People’s Union for Democratic Rights (pudr) joins other rights organisations and civil liberties bodies as well as common grieved citizens of this country in condemning the gruesome murder of Sr Valsa John in Puchwara village of Amrapara block/ PS in Pakur district of Jharkhand. Sr Valsa was hacked to death by a gang of assailants on the night of 15 November 2011, inside her rented accommodation in the village.

Sr Valsa, a native of Kerala, had been an ordained nun of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary. She had been staying in Puchwara, Jharkhand, for over a decade and had started a small programme of forest conservation. That had enraged the local timber mafia and stone-quarry owners in the neighbourhood. Afterwards she spearheaded the Rajmahal Pahar Bachao Andolan (RPBA) an assertion of rights of the adivasis of some 30-odd villages against “displacement” and pollution caused by the mining adventures of the PANEM coal company (a Punjab-based mining corporation). Following an agreement with the PANEM in 2006, on compensation and other related issues, the assertion softened. But before that a few select acti vists of the RPBA died in a series of “accidents” and Sr Valsa John had also received death threats. In 2007, despite court orders she was arrested by the local police in RPBA-related cases (which made the court censure the police and warn them against such acts of contempt of court). This was indicative of the inclination of the local police. And it is relevant to point out here that right-wing Hindutva forces, with the generous backing of the mining companies have always been active in the area.

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