Anti-POSCO movement – Appeal to join the resistance as police platoons surround villages

May 13, 2010

Appeal from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

 Join the Resistance Week – May 15 to May 21

14.05.2010

Our sincere and heart-felt thanks to you all for your continuous supports and cooperations to the people in struggles for the protection of their lands and livelihoods from the clutches of the South Korean eagle POSCO. Now, on behalf of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), I am writing this letter with a special request.

As you know, in protest of the joint conspiracy by the Manmohan Singh Government at Delhi, Naveen Government at Bhubaneswar and South Korean President, we, the people of Dhinkia Charidesh have been continuing our day-and- night peaceful Dharna (Sit-in) at Balitutha since last 107th days began from 26th January 2010 mid-night. Everyday thousands of women, men, children from families of peasants, fisher-folks, landless labourers, dalits are participating in the sit-in. Sadly enough, views of affected people did not create any sense of responsibility among the governments supposed to represent people of India. Moreover, they have been showing extra-ordinary favours to the corporates such as POSCO, Vedanta and TATA.

On the last Republic Day, both Manomohan Singh and Naveen Patnaik governments had assured to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in a special meet at Delhi that the state government will expedite works ‘to hand over lands to POSCO’. Throwing behind all protocols related to Republic Day celebrations in Orissa, a frustrated CM rushed to Delhi to prove his allegiance to SK President. PM, CM along UPA Chairperson had a meeting with him. They did not hesitate to sell the ‘dignity’ of people’s India to a private company on the same day of India’s pride.

Utter failure to displace the people by any means has made the desperate Orissa Government blood-thirsty. On 12th May 2010, the Orissa Police killed a person at Kalinga Nagar, where they had massacred 14 persons on 2nd Jan 2006. They are going to use the same murderous tricks at Dhinkia Charidesh to dissuade people from their resistance. On 11th May they sent, twenty five platoons of heavily armed police force have arrived and have already taken position around Balitutha and Dhinkia Charidesh to attack, the unarmed peasants, fisher-folks, landless daily labourers, dalits, other backward classes, women, men, children those who continuing their peaceful resistance movements the lands and livelihoods. With a well-crafted evil design, they have also brought 3 Magistrates with the police and sent 5 ambulances to nearby Kujanga Hospital. Almost all the schools at nearby villages have been forcibly occupied by the Police force in spite of the opposition by the villagers.

At this decisive juncture, PPSS decides to face the reality and calls to observe Mass Resistance Week from 15-21 May 2010 at Balitutha and affected villages. People in thousand numbers will gather there to express their support and solidarity to the struggling villagers. In this context, we would like to call people’s movements, political parties, trade unions, human rights organizations, solidarity groups, activists, supporters, sympathizers from various corners of the country to participate in the Resistance.

We are glad enough to invite you to make it possible to join the Resistance Week. You may, please, come to Balitutha and Dhinkia Charidesh on or before 15th and leave after 21st May 2010. We would also request you to bring your own fooding, tents and banner with you. Those who cannot physically be present may organise protests or send letters, faxes or phone calls of protest to the addresses below. Your smallest support will be our greatest inspiration.

Waiting to see you,

With Revolutionary Greetings,

Abhay Sahu,
President, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS)

Call/Fax/Email

Chief Minister of Orissa
Address: Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road, P.O.-Bhubaneswar, Dist.-Khurda
Pin -751001(Orissa)
Tel. No.(O) 0674- 2531100,2535100 (FAX)
Tel. No.(R) 0674- 2590299, 2591099,2590844,2591100,2590833
Email : cmo@ori.nic.in

Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister’s Office,
Room number 152, South Block, New Delhi, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857

Shri Shivraj Patil, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs,
104-107 North Block, New Delhi 110 001 India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979.

Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court,Tilak Marg, New Delhi -1,
Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: supremecourt@nic.in

Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India,
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, Tel: +91 11 230 74448,\
Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, Email: chairnhrc@nic.in

Mr. T. Theethan, IAS, The Joint Secretary, National Commission for SC,
5th Floor, ‘B’ Wing, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110103,
India. Email: jointsecretary-ncsc@nic.in

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At any point of time, the police will forcefully enter into their villages

POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS)

13.05.2010

On 11th May 2010, the government sent 25 police force platoons, 5 Ambulances and 2 fire engines to near-by areas and forcefully occupied different schools close to the affected villages by the proposed POSCO plant at Jagatsingphur district of Odisha, India. When villagers of Kujang refused to hand over the High School key, the police ignored them and entered forcibly the school campus. In doing this, the police themselves were breaking the law.

It is entirely possible that the government and POSCO company will begin their massive operation to, forcefully, oust people from their habitats and to sabotage the democratic peaceful movement by the people under banner of POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) for the last five years. The ground situation of the villages is under strain and villagers are on high alert to face any government attempts to acquire their land.

As you may know, all the villagers are vehemently resisting the forcible land acquisition process to establish 12 million ton per annum project of integrated steel plant, captive power station and port in Ersama block of Jagatsinghpur. Villagers strongly feel that if this project goes ahead it will not only destroy their paddy lands, fish-ponds, betel-vine and the entire environment, but also take away their sustainable and the most dependable livelihood systems. In addition to this, tribal people operating under the slogan of Khandhar Suraksha Samiti are protesting against the land acquisition and environmental degradation caused by proposed excavation of mining at Khandadhar hills of Sundhargarh district.

From January 26th 2010 onwards, hundreds of villagers are sitting daily at Balithutha – the entry point into the proposed project affected villages Nuagoan , Govindpur and Gara Kujanga panchayat.

The POSCO authorities and district administration tried to use forest officials for surveying the proposed area, which was resisted by the people. Now it’s learnt that for this refusal, three criminal cases have been registered in the local police station by the administration against the leaders of PPSS including its President, Abhya Sahoo and others. Now villagers are apprehending that at any point of time, the police will forcefully enter into their villager in the name of surveying the forest land.

At this juncture, we appeal to all the concerned citizens, media, human rights orginisations, and environmentalists to come forward and show their solidarity and help the people to fight against this injustice. We also earnestly appeal that you kindly write to concerned authorities of the government of Odisha and India to forbid any kind of such repressive measures to us. We are attaching a draft letter addressed to the Orissa Chief Minister for your reference. Kindly do necessary changes if you feel so and send it to the Chief Minister. The same letter may be sent to the Prime Minister and other concerned authorities. Please widely circulate this mail.

Also, you are requested to join Mass Resistance Week at Balitutha from 15th to 21st May 2010 and add your voice with the people struggling for their rights and justice.

Thanking for your continuous cooperation and support

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.
Mobile no – 09437571547