Many of us have been watching the developing situation in Paradip, Orissa, alarmed that it has worrying parallels to Nandigram. Here is a letter that has just been sent to the Chief Minister of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik, signed by several people.
Open Letter to Chief Minister, Orissa
Dear Navneen Patnaik ji,
We, the concerned citizens, representatives of people's movements, and organisations from Mumbai, bring to your notice the violence and terror in the Paradeep region of Orissa in order to aquire land for POSCO without the consent of large number of people in the area.
News reports and reporting from individuals from Orissa on the developments related to the handing over of land to POSCO of S. Korea, indicates that there is a scenario developing a way similar to Nandigram. The conflict between the factions of the farmers and fisher folk in the Paradeep region seems to be facilitated by vested interests, including few belonging to State administration. This news brings to the fore, once again, a politic that is submissive to the corporate powers who are waiting to vacate the land and habitats at the cost of people and their livelihoods..
We strongly condemn the brutal and heinous attack on the peaceful protest by POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti at Jagatsingpur in Orissa on Thursday, November 29th in which at least 17 people were injured when supporters of a local MLA, armed with lethal weapons and crude bombs attacked the members of anti-POSCO group near the proposed site for the steel plant. The attackers threw about 6 bombs at the agitators; many were critically injured. The police and the district administration intervened only after the clashes took place.
We are shocked with the attitude and action of the 16 platoons of police force who have cordoned off village Dhinkia where at least 1000 villagers are trapped. We condemn the terror-like scenario created at Jagatsingpur and the violence meted out on the peaceful protesters just to give a red carpet welcome to corporates like POSCO. POSCO has a notorious reputation of marshling police who jailed and beat striking union members – one to death in its home country South Korea . .
We the people's movements, common citizens and non- governmental organisations demand immediate restoration of peace and want you to :
- Intervene and prevent violence in a peaceful manner,
- Initiate a dialogue with people's organizations, even those questioning the project and proposing alternatives
- Stop the terror and violence. Punish the erring police personnel for not preventing the violence leashed upon the peaceful protestors on November 29th.
- Stop POSCO Project and find and an amicable solution keeping in the center the interest of marginalized people: adivasis, fisher people, small farmers specially women and children.
- Without securing the prior informed consent of the people affected by the project – adivasis, fisherfolk, small farmers, women and children, POSCO should not be allowed to set their company on their lands.
Looking forward to your response and a positive action towards safeguarding people's right to life and livelihoods.
1. Simpreet Singh, Ghar Banao Ghar Bachao Andolan & NAPM
2. Sandhya Gokhle, Forum Against Opression of Women
3. Sanjay M.G., National Alliance of People's Movements
4. Ulka Mahajan, Sarvhara Jan Andolan
5. Deepika D'souza, Human Rights Law Network
6. P. Jehangir, Narmada Bachao Andolan
7. Sushobhan Dhar, Radical Politics
8 Sukla Sen, EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity)
9 Kishan Garodia, Sadbhawana Sangh
10 Harsh, Combat Law
11 Sheikh Hussain, Rashtriya Yuva Sanghatan
12 Nandita Shah, Akshara
13 Sunanda kalushte, Maharashtra Sarvodya Mandal
14 Mohan Chauhan, Shahar Vikas Manch
15 Daniel Mazgoankar, Mumbai Sarvodya Friendship Centre
16 Jagdish khairalia, Asuraksit Majdoor karagar Union
17 P.K. Das, Niwara Hakk
18 Jalindhar Adsule, Awas Adhikar Sanyukt Kruti Samiti
19 Datta Iswalkar, Girini Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti
20 N.D,. Koli, National Fish Workers Forum
21. Sachin, Suvarna, Shabnam, Dhanu, Jyoti, Chanda, Jayashree, Kashipur Solidarity Group Mumbai
22 Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker
23 Mukta srivastava, National Alliance of People's Movements