Orissa – Statements against brutal attack on protesters at Jindal’s Angul steel plant

February 3, 2012

Press Note

by Prafulla Samantara (Convenor, NAPM)

Everyday in different parts of our state, people of Odisha especially Adivasis and farmers became victims of forceful displacement. Those that are displaced, they are again victimised by the corporations and the government. More than 15 thousand people have been displaced for Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. company in Angul district of Odisha in last 5 years. The Govt of Odisha had suppressed the anti-displacement movement at the beginning, People had opposed the project in the public hearing conducted by the State Pollution control Board and managed by the district administration. Though the officials had declared that another public hearing would be done, but it did not take place. The first hearing was manipulated and fabricated by which the company got environment clearance. Practically four thousand acres of land were acquired by the government for the company by using police force as well as alluring high payment or compensation and employment guarantee. But after acquisition of land, the displaced people are being betrayed and left unemployed without source of livelihood. Now the company have grabbed another 5000 acres of forest land destroying more than 4 lakhs Sal tree without any clearance. They have been demanding justified compensation, rehabilitation and permanent employment. The government remains silent where as the people have been waiting for justice.

On 25th January 2012 just before the Republic Day, 4000 unarmed, displaced people including women went to company gate to demand their right to livelihood and life with dignity. But in the presence of police, they were attacked physically by the security guards of Jindal company without any provocation. The security force used lathis and iron rods by which people are being beaten mercilessly. Women were attacked in such a inhuman way, that their clothes were torn and they were being injured severely from tip to toe. More than 200 persons became seriously injured and admitted in the Angul district Hospital and some of them were shifted to SCB medical college, Cuttack, without any assistance or help of the government. Many injured women are not in the hospital being feared. Now they are in their homes without medical treatments. Six days already passed but no justice is given to the victims. Now thousands of people have been demonstrating before company gate, they are not allowing for any construction work. In the local police station, F.I.R was lodged against CEO of the company, but no executive officer was arrested till now except the security officer.

The heinous attack by Jindal company is a conspiracy with district administration to suppress the voice of the displaced people to not to fight for their right to life and livelihood.

Recently 48 Tribal and Dalit people are being bitten by the police at Lanjigada and kept in jail as the people opposed to destruction of village road for Vedanta company. Hired goons of Posco used hand bombs to attack on struggling people of Dhinkia in presence of police in last November.

Till now the chief minister of Odsha did not react on the said inhuman, barbaric attack by the Jindal company on the displaced people of Angul.

I as the convenor of NAPM being associated with their protest preferences appeal to the activists and democratic peoples’ organizations to write letter of protest to the chief minister of Odisha and appeal to the National Human Rights Commission to set up an inquiry and take appropriate action in giving justice to the displaced and victims. Let us campaign against corporate crime and inhuman displacement everywhere in the country.

Prafulla Samantara
(Convenor, NAPM)

**************************************************************

Joint Statement against brutal attack on protesters at Jindal’s Angul steel plant

We are extremely shocked and distressed over the barbaric inhuman violence on peaceful protesters especially woman by the security guards and hired goons of Jindal steel plant in Angul, Odisha. There has been series of attacks on unarmed peaceful protesters against forcibly land grab all over Odisha. On 25th January 2012 when the entire Nation was gearing up for the Republic day celebrations and the Indian ruling classes, the big business and the corporate media was busy trumpeting the arrival of India major economical power house these recurring brutal violence by the corporate goons on mass movements in Odisha exposes the hollowness of our rulers claim of India being the world largest democracy.

On 25th January 2012 around four thousand men and women went to Jindal Steel Plant, Angul to demand a justified compensation for the land forcibly grabbed from them and also to demand jobs which was promise to them both by the Company and Odisha Government. When the procession arrived in the factory security guard of the Jindal Steel Company and hired goons brutally attacked men and women especially women who were in the front against the struggle. The barbaric scene is difficult to explain to in words. In front of a large posse of police the hired goons in the security guards of Company attached them with iron rods and stick. Fatally injuring more than two hundred men and women, many of them are now admitted in SCB Medical College, Cuttack and different hospitals in Angul. Women were beaten ruthlessly with iron rods their cloths were torn, they were bleeding profusely, the bestiality of the goons reached most shocking and appalling limits when some of them inserted iron rods into the private parts of the women. There is nothing much to say after this about the great proclamation of Odisha Chief Minister about the so called great peaceful industrialization of Odisha. When an FIR was lodged the local police station, none of the senior executive of the company including the CEO was arrested except the token arrest of the security officer. This incident is a horrifying indicator of the growing state and corporate attacks on peaceful mass movement of Odisha. In November 2011, the hired goons of POSCO in front of a large contingent of police men attacked the peaceful protesters of the Anti-POSCO struggle in Jagatsinghpru District Odisha, with bombs killing one an injuring many.

We strongly condemn this dastardly attack on peace protesters against Jindal Steel Company in Odisha, we demand immediate arrest of the CEO and other senior executive of Jindal Steel Plant registering criminal case against them for brutally attacking people injuring men and women. We demand the dismissal and trial of all the policemen, who was present during this inhuman shameful incident including SP of the district.

We appeal to all the progressive, democratic, Human Rights and Women’s Organizations to condemn the incidents and demand action against the culprits.

Prafulla Samantara NAPM / Lok Shakti Abhiyan
Sudhir Patnaik Editor, Samadrusti
Ajit Jha Samajwadi Jan Parishad
Kiran Saheen Media Action Group, Delhi
Sehenaz Malek Arman Mahila Sangathan, Ahmedabad
Mamata Das NFFPW / POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi
Subrat Kumar Sahu POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi
Asit Das POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi
Bhanumati Gochhait POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi
Rita Kumari Pravasi Nagarik Manch, Delhi
Ranjeet Thakur Journalist, Uttarakhand
P.K. Sunderam Research Scholar, JNU