Saturday, November 24, 2007

Posco clash injures five

JAGATSINGHPUR, Nov. 23: The abduction of seven officials of a dredging company, engaged by the Indian Oil Corporation led to a clash between pro and anti-Posco groups today. At least five persons were injured in the clash. The hostages were, however, released unharmed after 18 hours of detention by the anti-Posco group.

Seven officials of a dredging company had visited the Jatadhari river mouth yesterday to survey the dredging activities of IOC. The priest of a local temple of Nuagaon village had accompanied them to perform a puja before the commencement of work. A few anti-Posco activists of Noliasahi suspected the ongoing work was linked to the Posco steel plant project. They intervened and forcibly took away all seven officers to Dhinkia village, which is the stronghold of the anti-Posco activists. They even assaulted the priest for having helped the officers.

This enraged others in Nuagaon village who started attacking the anti-Posco group and injured Mr Banamali Nayak, Mr Prasanta Swain, Mr Ramesh Swain and Mr Smurutiranjan Swain. The district administration has tried to rescue the hostages, but the anti-Posco activists refused to release them till they furnish an undertaking that they will not enter the Jatadhari area.
Negotiations continued till 10 a.m. today and finally the hostages Mr Bhuipnder Sharama, Mr E.Raja, Mr E.S Oswal, Mr J.Dhanajaya, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Mr Rakesh Barik, and Mr Saroja Prusty were released.

Mr Abhaya Sahoo, the leader of the anti-Posco movement said that government and private company authorities were allowed to enter the area, ever since the road blockade set up by them at Balitutha. He maintained that these officers had violated the ban on entry and were therefore detained by the activists of the Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti. The Kujang police informed that neither the concerned company, nor the injured had lodged an FIR and no case has been registered.

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