UPDATED: Kidnapping Environmental Activists in India

August 11, 2010

Lodu Sikaka, kidnapping victim and activist for human rights in Orissa. Copyright: Survival International

UPDATE 2: Lado Sikaka was released, so please stop action.  Mr. Sikaka says that while he was there, he was beaten on his hands and legs, and interrogated about whether he had links with supporters of banned Maoist groups. and was involved in any violent incidents in the Niyamgiri Hills. He replied in the negative. However, his captors forced him to sign two blank pieces of paper, before taking him to the nearby town of Kalyansinghpur and releasing him there. He is currently walking back to Lakpaddar, the village where he lives, accompanied by several Dongria Kondh Indigenous people.  The Rayagada district police superintendent has denied that Lado Sikaka and Sana Sikaka were detained by police.

UPDATE: Here is the online action, where you can click to send an email.  Thanks for writing on Lano’s behalf.

Sana Sikaka and Lano Sikaka were kidnapped by 15 armed plainclothes officers at the foothills of Niyamgiri mountain (in the eastern Indian state of Orissa), as they were leaving in a van to travel to Delhi, where they planned to campaign against a bauxite mine project.  The gunmen confiscated the mobile phones of activists and their vehicle. They then detained Lado and Sana Sikaka, driving them towards the neighboring district of Rayagada where Sana suspects Lado is being held.

One of the activists, Sana Sikaka, was ‘released’ late last night by being thrown out of a van, and has alleged that the gunmen were police.  Lado Sikaka, the most senior leader of the Dongria Kondh indigenous community, is still being held by the gunmen.  It is a very urgent and dangerous situation for Mr. Sikaka, so I urge you to take action immediately.

Survival International, a group dedicated to the human rights of tribal peoples worldwide has more information and an action.  I’m also embedding a video below.  I find this especially outrageous that this kidnapping happened on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.