(Thanks to the mediatised times we are passing through)
And thus it did not appear surprising that the decision by Posco, the South Korean steelmaker, the fourth biggest in the world, to exit the proposed 12 million-tonnes a year steel plant in Odisha did not cause much flutter. Yes, newspapers duly reported POSCO India’s ‘request to the Odisha government to take back the land provided to it near Paradip’ where it was supposed to invest 52,000 crore Rs.’ The letter stated company’s ‘failure to start work on the proposed plant’.
Perhaps none from the media wanted to showcase a negative example which is at variance with the efforts by the powers that be to project the idea of ‘ease of doing business’ here. Undoubtedly at a time when the government is keen to attract foreign capital and inducing it in very many ways, the way in which a Corporate Major – supposed to be one of the leading in the steel sector – had to exit from its project can easily shake their confidence about investing here. Continue reading Victory of Anti-Posco Struggle→
On 7th March 2013, at least two mothers of Dhinkia and Govindpur (Patna village in this panchayat) villages in Jagatsinghpur went naked before the paramilitary station in Mangalpada near Govindpur village. In a rally led by mothers, hundreds of women and children went to the temporary paramilitary station that has more than 5 platoons of forces at the moment. While taking off their clothes, they constantly shouted, ‘why have you come here?, what do you want to see?’.
What must be the extent of desperation and provocation that our mothers decide to become naked before outside men? In such a site (Eastern Odisha), where women bodies are constructed dominantly as private objects to hide, what does it mean to dare to bare? It is important to read this shocking act as an act of mediation of their political voices. It is in a desperate bid to express their furore, frustration & anger over intrusive presence of police & paramilitary in the area that they bared their bodies to shame them.
Copy of the Memorandum to The Chief Minister, Government of Odisha
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.
• Appeal to the Odisha Government to withdraw the frivolous cases and RELEASE ABHAY SAHOO NOW!
• WITHDRAW ALL THE CRIMINAL CASES LODGED AGAINST THE ANTI POSCO ACTIVISTS and put a stop to repressive measures.
• PUCL APPEALS TO OTHER ORGANISATIONS TO COME TO TOGETHER AND INITIATE A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE RELEASE OF ABHAY SAHOO AND SUPPORT OF THE POSCO PRATIRODH SANGRAM SAMITI.
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties, represented by its National Secretary Kavita Srivastava and Odisha Convenor, Pramodini Pradhan visited the area in and around Dhinkia Panchayat in Jagatsinghpur district on 1st December, 2011, where the struggle against the proposed POSCO steel plant is taking place for the last seven years. We also went to Choudwar Jail in Cuttack District on 2nd December, 2011 to meet Mr Abhay Sahoo the leader of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangharsh Samiti, who has been arrested against FIRs motivated by the administration under sections causing sexual assault, wrongfully confining somebody and causing atrocities under the SC & ST Act. Continue reading Release Abhay Sahoo Now: People’s Union for Civil Liberties→
This statement, signed by many individuals and organisations, was released on 29 November by theCAMPAIGN FOR SURVIVAL AND DIGNITY
CONDEMN THE REPRESSION ON POSCO PRATIRODH SANGRAM SAMITI AND THE LIKELY IMMINENT ATTACK ON THE PEACEFUL PROTESTERS OF THE AREA
The undersigned condemn the growing brutality of the state repression being unleashed against the peaceful, democratic protesters of the POSCO project area, who are only fighting for their legal and fundamental rights. This repression has reached a peak with the arrest yesterday (Friday) of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti leader Abhay Sahoo. The government’s constant announcements of its intention to start construction in the area lead us to apprehend that there will be more violence and brutality against the movement. Continue reading Statement Condemning the Repression of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti→
This is a guest post byARATI CHOKSIwith photographs byAYUSH RANKA
POSCO catapulted out of nowhere into the periphery of my imagination last year. On May 15, 2010, in a brutal show of aggression and violence, armed police battalions attacked unarmed protesters at Balitutha opposing a forceful takeover of their lands by the state for a POSCO steel plant. Members of police force set fire to shops, eateries and thatched homes, including the dharna site of people’s peaceful protest. Police fired upon unarmed protesters with rubber bullets. One person died, and hundreds were severely injured in this firing, many of these were women and the elderly. Continue reading POSCO and the People: Ayush Ranka and Arati Choksi→
Children and women of Gobindpur village in Jagatsinghpur district form a human chain to stop the forces from destroying their homes
The US-based Mining Zone Peoples Solidarity Group (MZPSG) has been working on an international solidarity campaign as part of the anti POSCO campaign in Orissa. They launched a divestment campaign some months ago aimed at four retirement funds, all of which have significant investments in POSCO.
One of these is the TIAA CREF, that is, the US-based Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund, a financial services non-profit organization that is the leading retirement provider for people who work in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.
As part of the campaign 600 US based faculty wrote to TIAA CREF some weeks ago, asking it to divest from POSCO. They are now seeking support from faculty based in India, expressing solidarity with their US -based colleagues and pressing upon TIAA CREF the urgency of the need to divest from POSCO.
Please consider signing the petition using the link provided below.
Madhumita Dutta has sent us this powerful letter in solidarity with the people of Jagatsinghpur opposing the POSCO project, written by a South Korean activistSUNG-HEE CHOI, in prison for opposing a naval base.
Dear residents in Jagatsinghpur,
I am a woman and activist living in South Korea, the country of the POSCO you oppose. I am currently being jailed in the Jeju prison, under the charge of ‘interruption of business’, because of my resistance against the enforcement of the naval base construction in the Jeju Island located in the south of South Korea. As of today, July 3, I met 46th day since my arrest and 44th day since my being restrained.
I accidently happened to see two of your struggle photos and a photo in the Korean Times, June 13, 2011 had a caption underneath it:
‘Anti POSCO action in India: A village sprays water to relieve children lying with other villages along the entry point to prevent policemen and officials from entering their area at Jagatsinghpur district, about 140 kilometers(87 miles) east of eastern Bhubareshwary India, Saturday. The villagers have been protesting against turning their farmland into an industrial developed area for a $12 billion steal plant of South Korean conglomerate POSCO (AP-Yonhap).’
This statement about today’s events in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, comes from theCAMPAIGN FOR SURVIVAL AND DIGNITY
Today, more than a thousand armed police besieged the gram panchayat of Dhinkia in Jagatsinghpur District of Orissa to crush the resistance to the POSCO steel plant. For the entire day thousands of people sat in the heat, where several people (including children) and even two policemen fainted. At noon the Collector declared their protest “unlawful” and subsequently loudspeakers blared threats about use of tear gas, lathi charges, “those engaging in unlawful protests being dispersed” continuously for four hours. Efforts were made to divide the protesters as well. The protesters remained firm. Eventually, perhaps afraid of the heavy media presence and unable to break the will of the people, the police withdrew. The people have left some of their number on guard, fearful of the police’s return at any time. Continue reading POSCO: Lies, Crimes and Atrocities→
This is a press release issued last week by PPSS, pointing out the illegalities being committed by the Orissa government and the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests in connection with the POSCO project.
This guest post is an appeal circulated by Progressive Students Union (PSU) – Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) – about the state’s war on “Maoist violence” , adding to the growing criticism of the CPI(Maoist) that cannot be conveniently dismissed as pro-state or anti-Left.
As has already been declared all across the national media, the state has declared war on “Maoist violence” across the country and is about to unleash its might on some of the most neglected regions and people of this country. While the Maoists are the declared target of the State, it is needless to say that they have hardly any qualms about “breaking a few eggs to make an omlette”! The thousands of adivasis and civilians going to be caught in the crossfire would be portrayed by the media as an inevitable but necessary price to pay for the eradication of the Naxal ‘menace’. That may well be only less than half the story, because another reason for state operations in this area is the immense mineral wealth there which can not be passed on to Indian capital unless adivasis living there are displaced, and their survival systems completely destroyed. According to reports from Chhatisgarh, the state sponsored Salwa Judum has displaced more than three hundred and fifty thousand adivasis in the old Bastar area. Fifty thousand have moved to neighbouring states, another fifty thousand are living under the surveillance of para-military forces in state controlled camps, the remaining two hundred and fifty thousand have moved deeper into the jungle to escape the violence and pillage of Salwa Judum. While the adivasis of Central India have faced, and resisted state violence for long, the Central Home Ministry – under the leadership of the suave and genteel Home Minister and Prime Minister – has made plans for a larger offensive named ‘Operation Green Hunt’ (with the open possibility of aerial bombardment) to be launched in November this year. Progressive Students Union (PSU) condemns in the strongest terms these actions of the state which amounts to nothing but declaring war on its own citizens.
Patrick Barigbalo Naagbanton is a well-known human rights activist. Born in Rivers State, Nigeria, he trained as a journalist before working as a trade unionist at the Port Harcourt factory of the Union Dicon Salt PLC, where he was elected chairman of the workers union, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN). He was eventually fired for campaigning for improvement in working conditions. Naagbanton recruited many workers to join human rights/pro-democracy groups like the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Campaign for Democracy (CD), and Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR). Naagbanton served as a board member of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), representing the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. He also worked with the Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FOEN), documenting, researching and campaigning against human rights and environmental degradation in Nigeria. In recognition of his role in promoting and defending victims of rights abuse in Nigeria, Naagbanton received the Indianapolis University Human Rights Award in 2001; and in 2002, the Rivers State branch of the CLO conferred on him the Saro-Wiwa Award for human and environmental rights defender. Continue reading Naagbanton, Binayak Sen and Kampala Declaration→
As the shadows lengthen along Keonjhar’s main street, the tube-lit sign above Hotel Arjun flickers to life, illuminating both – the front entrance of the hotel and the cigarette seller adjacent to it. A solitary traffic policeman walks up to the junction right outside the hotel, and assumes his position on at the most significant crossing in town.
Fifteen kilometers down the road the ground shivers as a queue, over a kilometer long, shudders to life. Engine after engine revs up as a convoy, several hundred trucks strong, begins the next stage of the 325 kilometer journey from the iron rich district of Keonjhar in North Orissa to the port of Paradip on the coast. Continue reading Welcome to Ore-issa→