Condemn the Assault on anti-POSCO activists

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To:  Chief Minister of Orissa, Prime Minister of India

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing assault on the anti-POSCO protesters in Jagatsinghpur District, Orissa. After arresting and beating people last week, today more than one thousand police surrounded the area and laid siege to those protesting. Women, children and men spent the entire day in intense heat in order to stand vigil against the illegal attack on their lands. Both people and police officials have lost consciousness from the heat; the police snuck in from one direction and destroyed some vines. Dhinkia gram panchayat, where the crisis is occurring, contains around 2/3 of the land sought by the steel plant and the majority of those affected.

This horrific attack comes at a time when two cases by the villagers are pending in the Orissa High Court, and when there is a criminal complaint against the District Collector for lying and fabricating the evidence that was the basis of the clearance to take the land.

It also comes after three official committees found the land grab to be illegal and in violation of the Forest Rights Act, and after it was exposed by international experts that the project has no benefits for the local or national economy (while providing a minimum profit of Rs. 1,95,000 crores to POSCO).

That the Orissa government itself sees no great urgency in this project can be seen from the fact that the MoU with POSCO has not been renewed for over a year, and its renewal was deferred again just three days ago. There is thus not even any agreement on what the project will be when it comes up. Why then this inhuman attack on those seeking to defend their rights? Can it be anything other than an attempt to terrorise the protesters and all others who may dare to oppose the crimes of the state?

Clearly the State government, with the support of the Centre, is not concerned about the law, the people, the environment or development. Yet again we see the use of police terror to loot our people for private profit. No words of condemnation are sufficient for this heinous crime.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

 

One thought on “Condemn the Assault on anti-POSCO activists

  1. Pingback: India’s farmers under extreme pressure | ikners.com

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