In the continuum of brutal attacks on the struggle against forcible land acquisition for a POSCO steel plant in Odisha, the most recent case of blatant violence perpetrated by the corporate–police-goonda nexus in the region saw the murder of 4 people in Jagatsinghpur district.
On 2nd March, hired musclemen of POSCO with the full complicity of Odisha Police threw bombs at anti-POSCO activists in Patana village, in which 4 activists were killed and several others were seriously injured. Out of the 4, 3 were killed as a direct consequence of the police’s refusal to arrive at the spot for 15 hours after the bombing, or arrange for an ambulance to take the injured to a hospital.
The active connivance between the POSCO management and local contractors along with the Odisha Government to violently suppress the anti-POSCO struggle through every unconstitutional and illegal means, from hiring criminal elements to intimidation and murder of local activists spearheading the movement, has exposed the extent to which they are willing to bypass the law to bulldoze their way by means by brute force.
Matters have not stopped there, again on 5th March 2013, 12 platoons of armed police led by the District Collector and SP forcibly entered Gobindpur village and destroyed more than 25 betel vines – the major source of livelihood of the protesting villagers.
The Odisha government is going ahead with the forcible land acquisition for the steel plant despite the fact that POSCO does not have an environmental clearance for the project. The environmental clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on January 31, 2011 was suspended by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 30 March 2012. POSCO does not even have a valid memorandum of understanding with the State government now. The one it had signed on July 22, 2005 lapsed on July 21, 2010 and no fresh MoU has been signed so far.
We strongly condemn this complete disregard for any kind of democratic processes, and the blatant use of brute force through police as well as goons to brutally crush the movement that is going on in the region.
We demand that the:
1. Ongoing forcible land acquisition for POSCO plant be immediately stooped.
2. Police force be withdrawn immediately from proposed POSCO plant area.
3. Suspend the District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Jagatsinghpur District immediately.
4. False criminalisation of the protesters be stopped immediately.
5. Prosecute those responsible for the bomb attack on PPSS activists.
(Memorandum submitted by different political organisations and individuals to the Resident Commissioner in Delhi addressed to the Chief Minister of Odisha after a demonstration held outside Odisha Bhawan on 9 th March to protest against the killing of Anti – POSCO activists and against the ongoing forcible land grabbing by Odisha Government for the proposed POSCO Steel Plant. For further details see http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.in/2013/03/protest-held-in-new-delhi-against_10.html?spref=fb )
6 thoughts on “Protest Against Killing of Anti – POSCO Activists and Forcible Land Grabbing in Odisha”
POSCO has no valid environmental clearance. But the Government is threatening to go ahead with land acquisition despite a clear statement from the people of that region that they are not willing to give up their lands. The lands to be acquired have standing betel vines, a source of income that allows for more than a modest standard of living for the region’s farmers. Women, mostly elderly, threatened to strip in protest if the police outposts in the vicinity of their village is not removed. Today, on International Women’s day, they did just that. The Government of Odisha has accused the movement of using women as a shield, conveying that the women have no agency of their own, and can be led by their noses and ordered to strip by the anti-Posco leadership.
Happy Women’s Day!
Anti-POSCO protests have been going for the last several years.Both the the Odisha government of Naveen Patnaik and UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh have virtually turned a deaf ear and a blind eye towards that.This is simply unacceptable.These governments are themselves throwing the normal norms to the winds and they are not tired of talking of Rule of Law.Anti-POSCO is no more a local affair.It is echoing in the rest of the country.With so many big heads sitting at every place they have failed to arrive at an amicable settlement.Rahul Gandhi at one time promised to be the representative of the tribals of the area.I think he should be reminded of what he had said there during his visit to Odisha.
Essential to understand the regime of (global) capital_ each POSCO-like development must reify into (at least) a dozen seminars (critical business histories to be welcomed).
Patnaik would be levelled first, if he chooses to align with it (look out for the guiles of politicians running with hare and hound).
Incidentally, POSCO strategy targets oppositional (nonUPA) states/sites (why)
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States that are not aligned with, or are not allies of the center face constrained financial choices, of accumulation and development. Even the center spearheads a ‘development by invitation’ which normalises much of the state’s efforts, including the bloody regional desperation we witness today. This particular/peculiar context must be recognised, without compromising condemnation towards a steamrolling of human rights! If the stakeholders (local and indigenous people) don’t fancy development as it is construed/executed, resistance must be recognised as political and legitimated as such. The exigencies and compulsions of the world-economy must not be allowed to hijack democratic process and institutions (ironically,also instituted are the laws enshrining private property in this mixed (up) economy), but humans tend to aggregate their greed in ways that subvert this (and which seems to gain a motive force) in the (semi-)periphery. It does make sense to give currency to the terms ‘semi-periphery’ a structural position in the world economy, and ‘neo-liberalism’ that spells out the nature of a ‘red sun’ (global) capitalism. Thus, one cannot ‘assure’ development to popular classes and preferred constituencies, and put the pain on others. as long as its not inclusive, its not development nor democratic