Noted rights defender and environmental rights activist, Prafulla Samantara abducted from hotel room in Rayagada, later found in Berhampur: Orissa

Sabrangindia spoke to well recognised environmentalist and Adivasi rights activist Prafulla Samantara, who said men masquerading as “police” forced their entry into the Hotel room (where he was due to attend a press conference) and whisked him away from Rayagada on a roundabout route to Behrampur, a distance of 255 kilometres, without FIR or warrant; Samantara an awardee of the international Green Nobel Prize, the Goldman International prize has now filed an FIR

In a shocking display of the complete breakdown of the law and order machinery in Orissa, noted rights activist and environmentalist, Prafulla Samantara was abducted from his hotel room in Rayagada on Tuesday afternoon, August 29. He has been protesting against the ongoing clampdown by the Navin Patnaik government and corporations which has manifested itself in the illegal arrests and detentions of at least 25 Adivasis in the southern districts of the state. Adivasis have been opposing the bauxite mining activity that is being carried out in violation of the law, and in opposition to the views and decisions of the Gram Sabhas.

Samantara said to Sabrangindia that he was in Rayagada to attend a press meet organised by Youth Congress. But before the press meet started he went missing from the hotel he was staying in. Men claiming themselves to be ‘police’ without identification, used the gamcha he uses to bind his hands behind his back blind folded him and drove him around over 200 kilometres. It was only when news of his abduction spread and pressure was exerted by citizens on the bureaucracy and government that he was freed in Behrampur. He has filed an FIR on the abduction.

As per reports, Samantara was in Rayagada to attend a press meet organised by Youth Congress. But before the press meet started he went missing from the hotel he was staying in.

Speaking about Samantara, State Coordinator of Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), Narendra Mohanty said, “We suspect the police have abducted him to suppress the voice he raised against illegal usurping of tribal and forest land. This is a tactic the State government has devised to crush the uprising against it.”

V Srinivas, the owner of the hotel from where Samantara went missing said, “Though I was not in the hotel when he went missing, what I heard, the police have taken him away.”

Asked about his whereabouts, he said some miscreants kidnapped him from the hotel in Rayagada and dropped him in Berhampur. After he was found in Berhampur, Samantara told the local media, “Just 20 minutes before the press conference, three unidentified persons came inside my room and took away my mobile phone. They called a vehicle, gagged me and tied my hands after I screamed for help. Then they drove me for one and a half hours before dropping me here in Berhampur.”


“Initially I suspected that some goons of the mining company might be behind my abduction, but now I suspect that was the police,” he alleged.

Samantara has been a spokesperson for the Dangaria Kandha indigenous people, in their protest against plans for bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hill range.


25 persons arrested in southern Odisha in the last three weeks through police-corporate nexus



Related Articles