Update of Anti–POSCO People’s Movement

January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011

On 17th of January 2011, more than 1200 villagers belonging to the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti undertook a day-long 25 kilometer padayatra (foot-march). They were protesting the ongoing indiscriminate police arrest of villagers. The padayatra started from Dhinkia and culminated at Tahasil headquarter at Erasama. Cases have been lodged against more than 1200 people. Villagers from the Anti-POSCO movement area unable to come out to avail of basic necessary services like health treatment for fear of arrest. Warrant orders have been issued by the police against these peaceful protestors. Last week the persons were brought before the Joint Magistrate First Class to consider bail on the order of the State High Court. These persons were chased by the local Superintendnt of Police and his force thus dishonoring the High Court order. Sahyam Jena of Dhinkia was arrested by Police. The police have been terrorizing the people with flag–marches. There is a police force deployed at the main entry-point.

In a memorandum to the Governor of Odisha through Erasama Tahasildar the PPSS demanded that the villagers seeking health treatment and attending government officials should not be arrested by the police in and around the proposed POSCO project area. They also asked for a withdrawal of all false cases against the peaceful protesters.. In accordance with the Committee’s recommendations, PPSS also demanded prosecution of the authorities who violated the provisions of the Forest Right Act (FRA) and other environmental laws. Additionally, all those who have colluded in these violations or have been negligent in the implementation of the legal code must be held responsible. PPSS demand that the Orissa Government immediately implement the FRA in the affected area using transparent and democratic methods to ensure individual and community rights under the law.

Prasant Paikray

Posco Pratirodh Sangram Saiti

(Released on January 18, 2011)