Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Posco block for ‘outsider’ Medha


Bhubaneswar, Dec. 11: Villagers supporting the Posco project today stopped Medha Patkar from entering the area, saying a state should solve its matters without the "interference of outsiders".

The activist was denied entry into Nuagaon, one of the villages that will be affected by the South Korean company's project.

Villagers holding placards that read "We want peace, we want Posco — Medha go back" sat on a dharna to prevent her from entering.

"I want a peaceful solution, too," said the leader, who was allowed in only after police intervened.

Tamil Pradhan, who led the group that stopped Medha, said the villagers had been "requested to maintain discipline and not to encourage outsiders".

Earlier, the project supporters had asked residents not to speak to Medha when she visited the villages.

Eyewitnesses said a drummer was sent around warning that the family of the person found speaking to her would be fined Rs 5,000.

Undeterred, Medha, escorted by the police, did talk to the villagers but the fear did not go away.

A Medha supporter and convener of the Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan, Biswajit Ray, said a villager who had agreed to put up Medha later changed his mind fearing attacks on his house. In the past, the villagers had even dined with the activist.

She later left for an undisclosed destination. "One could see fear (of the pro-Posco group) on their faces," she said.


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