Saturday, December 8, 2007

Repression in name of Posco protection?

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, Dec 8: Former speaker of Lok Sabha Mr Rabi Ray and a host of eminent social activists, including Mr BD Sharma and Mr KN Pandit today, decried the state-sponsored repression taking place in villages falling under the proposed Posco steel plant site in Jagatsinghpur district.

Dhinkia village, which is the stronghold of a peoples resistance movement against the project, is now under virtual siege with goons and police guarding all entry and exit points, charged Mr Sharma after visiting the spot. Entry and exist are completely controlled by the police who work in tandem with hired people, charged Mr Sharma.

The objective is to seal and cut off Dhinkia, there is a virtual economic blockade and people of Dhinkia village are holed in for one week now, they said. The villagers are determined to lay down their lives fighting to protect their land.

Mr Sharma demanded immediate withdrawal of police force, arrest of all hired goons and a judicial probe to the incidents of violence that had taken place since 29 November. He pointed out that everybody including the district administration was unaware of the rights of owners of erstwhile forest land.

They can no longer be termed as encroachers, he said. A Nandigram like situation has developed with the government out to terrorise people and snatch their land, said Mr Pandit.

Posco-India, a subsidiary of South Korea steel major Posco, today announced merit scholarships for students from poor families that are being displaced due to its construction activities. Yesterday, the company's TJ Park Foundation, a non-profit welfare organisation awarded merit scholarships to 29 students from various educational institutions in Orissa. The foundation is funded and supported by Posco.

The Statesman

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