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Archive for May 2010

Posco survey work begins today

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BS Reporter / Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar May 25, 2010, 0:41 IST

With the talks between the leaders of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the organization spearheading the anti-Posco agitation in the state, and the Revenue Divisional Commissioner yet to take off, the Paradip MP Bibhuprasad Tarai has sought the intervention of chief minister Naveen Pattnaik to stop the socio-economic survey for the Posco project which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

The district administration, meanwhile, has geared up to start the survey work at the proposed Posco site and the process is expected to continue for about two weeks.

The district collector Narayan Jena, however, clarified that the survey work will not be taken up in Dhinkia, the stronghold of PPSS. The survey will be conducted in the rest areas for which the United Action Committee, a purportedly local based pro-Posco organization, has agreed to extend its cooperation, he added.

The local MP, Tarai said, “There was proposal that 5 representatives of PPSS would hold talks with the RDC but this has not yet started. I have requested the PPSS leaders to list the names of representatives to meet RDC on this issue”, said Tarai.

“I want smooth discussions between the PPSS leaders and the district administration to find out the solution. The decision of the administration to start survey from Tuesday without the consent of the villagers would aggravate the situation. The discussions between PPSS leaders and the administration would be meaningless, if survey would start before the talks”, he added.

Earlier, the chief minister had convened a meeting with the local MP and MLAs to resolve the Posco issue and had requested Tarai to negotiate with anti-Posco activists. It was decided that RDC and the district administration will meet the representatives of PPSS in the presence of Tarai to sort out all out all issuesregarding the Posco project.

When contacted Special Land Acquisition Officer of Paradip, Nrusingh Swain said, “The administration has taken all arrangements to start survey work at Nuagaon and Gadkujang panchayats from Tuesday. No information has come from the chief minister’s office to stop Posco survey work till now”.

The administration has formed six teams to expedite the survey work. Each team has 5 members under the supervision of either a tahsildar or additional tahsildar.

They will verify the last survey conducted by the district administration in 2008 and assess the valuation of betel vines and other crops.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/posco-survey-work-begins-today/395959/

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Written by janjagriti

May 24, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Posted in News

Orissa – Brief Report from Anti-POSCO villages – story of the injured people

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by Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati

May 19, 2010

bharat-bardhan-who-was-hit-by-a-rubber-bullet-and-a-shotgun-pellet-on-his-face.JPG gujuri-mohanti-72-who-was-hit-by-three-rubber-bullets-on-her-back-and-behind-her-head.JPG gujuri-mohanti-describing-the-brutalities-on-the-elderly-women.JPG mounabati-das-describing-her-harrowing-ordeal.JPGshantilata-mahapatra-who-was-hit-by-a-shotgun-pellet-and-a-rubber-bullet-on-her-leg.JPG

mounabati-das-with-a-large-subcutaneos-blood-clot-from-a-rubber-bullet.JPGthe-fractured-foot-of-tikki-bardhan-could-not-be-plastered-as-no-medical-treatment-is-available.JPGthe-wound-from-the-pellet-after-it-was-extracted-and-dressed.JPG tikki-bardhan-whose-foot-is-fractured-after-being-hit-by-a-rubber-bullet.JPG

The situation in the three villages of Dhinkia, Gobindapur and Nuagaon is grim. Three days after the 15th May assault by police forces on the peaceful assembly of villagers in Balitutha, nearly every household in these three villages have people who are injured and traumatized. And because since 15th May, all the exit points from the villages, through Balitutha and Trilochanpur have been sealed by the police, and with the threat of arrest looming large on anyone from the villages who step out, nearly no one has received medical treatment for their wounds. With festering wounds and fractured limbs, many people, including the elderly, are suffering their ordeal silently in the confines of their homes.

Balitutha, where the police assault took place on the 15th, is a scene of destruction. The police, exhibiting a disturbing sign of wreaking vengeance, not only burnt down the shamiana under which the dharna was being held for the past five months, but also set fire to all the roadside shops, eateries and thatched houses on one side of the Balitutha bridge. This has been vividly shown on the Oriya television channels. If setting fire to houses and shops becomes an accepted operational practice of the Orissa police, it speaks volumes about the “keepers of law and order” and their political masters in the Orissa government. Now the entire area is teeming with police forces and their special operations vehicles, and they are preventing anyone from the besieged villages from stepping out.

The villagers’ wounds and their description of what happened on 15th April in Balitutha is also a grim testimony of what the state can inflict on peaceful protesters. There are around two hundred injured people in the three villages. Wounds are from rubber bullets, lathis and, something that I had seen for the first time, from pellets fired from shotguns. These are small spherical pellets, like bicycle ball-bearings, which have been fired in thousands. Many people have five or six of these painfully embedded under their skins. This is a most inhuman weapon, which have been used in the past in Israel and South Africa to break up demonstrations without causing life-threatening injuries. The Orissa police seem to have adopted this as a new means of sowing terror among peaceful demonstrators. Without availability of doctors and unable to reach hospitals, many people are being forced to extract the pellets at home using knifes and blades.

Women seem to have been especially targeted for assault and humiliation. Most of the wounded we saw were women. Mounabati Das, in her fifties, who after being hit by a rubber bullet on her leg and falling on the ground, described how she was dragged around by her hair by the police who threatened her in filthy language that this would be the consequence of resisting the government. She has a large subcutaneous blood clot from the rubber bullet which hit her thigh and walks around with great difficulty. Tikki Bardhan, whose foot seems to have been fractured after being hit by a rubber bullet, cannot even walk. There has been no doctor to see her and plaster the fractured foot. Her husband, Bharat Bardhan, was hit by a rubber bullet and a shotgun pellet on his face. He barely missed losing his right eye, but the bullet broke a tooth and a blood vessel in his nose because of which he was profusely bleeding from his nose. The shot gun pellet is still embedded in his left cheek. Shantilata Mahapatra was hit by a rubber bullet and a shotgun pellet on her leg. She could barely walk. I extracted the pellet with difficulty from her leg and dressed up the wound and gave her a course of antibiotics which I had taken with me. Gujuri Mahanti, a 72 year old grandmother, has been hit by three rubber bullets on the back of her head, on the small of her back and behind her waist. She finds it difficult to sit or even lie down, except on her side. She described how the assembled women were attacked by the police on that day. The women had been sitting in dharna in front of the bridge. The police, who were on the bridge, ordered them to move away and clear the path. After around two hours, when they had got up and turned to move away, the police attacked with tear gas, rubber bullets and pellet guns. Many of the elderly women, including herself, choking on the tear gas, somehow moved away from the spot and reached what they thought to be a safe distance, where they tried to gather together. But the police turned their fire on this group and kept firing on their backs as they tried to run away. This is clearly shown by the fact that she was hit by rubber bullets on her back. The police, who had the advantage of being situated on higher round on the bridge, fired at will on the people assembled on lower ground at one end of the bridge. When the women were running away, the police descended from the bridge and assaulted them with lathis and dragged them around by their hair. Five of them, including a 60 year old grandmother, were dragged into police vans and taken away. Their relatives do not know till now what has been their fate.

These stories were repeated in every home. The people are now awaiting an imminent attack on the villages itself which the administration has already threatened. However, they say that these wounds have only strengthened their resolve to resist, and there will be a blood bath if the police enter their villages. But 72 year old Gujuri Mahanti had a question addressed to Naveen Patnaik, “Would he treat his mother in the same way that the police had treated her?” As Naveen Patnaik, with his masters at Tata POSCO, tries to bring “development” to Orissa with rubber bullets and shotgun pellets, this is the question that confronts him from poor village women who are resolved to resist this aggression on their lives and livelihoods.

http://sanhati.com/articles/2372/

Written by janjagriti

May 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Reports

Orissa withdraws police cover from Posco site

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Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 0035 hrs IST
Updated: Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 0035 hrs ISTBhubaneswar: In a significant development, the Jagatsinghpur district administration on Wednesday lifted prohibitory orders from the proposed Posco site and withdrew the police force from the area. The district administration had clamped section 144 of the Cr PC in an area of 3 km radius around the Balitutha gate on May 15 and cleared the road blockage set up by anti-Posco groups.

The district administration’s step is a fallout of the top level discussion held at the state secretariat on Tuesday. The chief minister’s principal secretary, Bijya Patnaik, reviewed the situation at the Posco site since the May 15 police action.

After the prohibitory order was lifted and the police forces were withdrawn, a political rally was held at Balitutha by six political parties including the CPI, CPM and Rastriya Janata Dal to protest against the police excess on anti-Posco activists.

The rally was attended by over 1,000 villagers from the three gram panchayats – Dhinkia, Gobindpur and Nuagoa—which forms the core area of Posco’s 12 million tonne steel project.

CPI national general secretary AB Bardhan addressed the rally along with leaders of other political parties. The leaders condemned the police action against the villagers facing displacement due to the Posco project.

The six-party protest rally has emboldened the Posco Pratirodha Sangram Smiti (PPSS), the outfit that is spearheading the resistance movement against Posco’s Rs 52,000 crore steel project.

“We will soon re-capture Balitutha,” said PPSS chief Abhaya Sahoo. PPSS activists, who had put up a road blockade at Balitutha denying entry to the Posco sites, were driven out by the police four days ago.

Meanwhile, chief minister Naveen Patnaik has convened a meeting of MPs and MLAs of Jagatsinghpur on Thursday to discuss the Posco project.

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Orissa-withdraws-police-cover-from-Posco-site/621174/

Written by janjagriti

May 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Posted in News

Pictures of the Police Offensive at Balitutha – 16th May 2010

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Written by janjagriti

May 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Articles

CPI pumps up anti-Posco stir

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Sowmya Aji New Delhi, May 18, 2010

Political and public opinion against the South Korean steel giant Posco’s plant in Orissa is gaining momentum.

Left leaders and intellectuals have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemning the May 15 police firing on protesters. The BJP has sent a fact-finding team to the spot.

CPI general secretary A. B. Bardhan, whose party is leading the agitation, said the stir will continue despite the firing.

“I will address a meeting at the very spot where the firing took place on May 19, irrespective of whether Section 144 is in place or not,” he told MAIL TODAY. The Left will also participate in a bandh across the state on May 21 to draw attention to the plight of the people in the project-affected area.

Other than the Congress, the ruling Biju Janata Dal and the BJP, all other political parties will participate in the bandh.

Bardhan said his party had written several letters to their on-and-off ally, Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik, protesting against the crushing of tribal rights in several cases in Orissa including Posco and the Tata port at Dhamra.

Bardhan said Posco’s demand for a captive port and steel mines was unacceptable, as there would be no account of transactions if everything was private.

CPI national secretary D. Raja in a letter to the PM said the attack on the protesters was “brutal” and “this kind of atrocity can never be justified”. Calling the Orissa government’s action “doubly criminal”, Raja demanded the environment ministry’s conditional clearance to the project should be withdrawn immediately.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/97769/India/CPI+pumps+up+anti-Posco+stir.html

Written by janjagriti

May 18, 2010 at 4:12 am

Posted in Articles

SECOND LETTER TO THE HON’BLE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA

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ON THE ONGOING POLICE ATTACKS ON PEACEFUL DISSENTERS IN ORISSA

17 May 2010

New Delhi

To

Dr Manmohan Singh

Hon’ble Prime Minister of the Republic of India

Sub: Appeal to immediately intervene in Jajpur and Jagatsingpur districts of Orissa where police and paramilitary forces are crushing India’s democratic values in broad daylight

Sir,

We, a group of concerned citizens, are shocked and anguished at the current situation in Jajpur and Jagatsingpur districts of Orissa where police and paramilitary forces have been sent by the state government to crush people’s democratic dissent in the most undemocratic and unbecoming way.

In blatant disregard towards Constitutional values, the state government of Orissa on 15 May 2010 sent at least 40 platoons of police force to Balitutha in Jagatsingpur district – the entry place for the proposed POSCO project area – where hundreds of villagers of the PPSS (POSCO Pratirodh Sangharsh Samiti) were sitting in a peaceful demonstration since 26 January 2010 to express their dissent against the proposed plant, which is a fundamental right of the people going to be affected by the plant.

They are also defending their rights under the Forest Rights Act 2006, which the UPA government terms as a historic Act to ‘correct a historical injustice’, which the Orissa government has blatantly violated.

Instead of coming to dialogue with the people – as they should in any democracy – the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police rather led the forces with a well-planned attack on peaceful demonstrators, in which the temporary shelter at the demonstration site was set on fire and peaceful protesters were mercilessly beaten and fired with rubber and plastic bullets by the police.

More than 100 villagers, including women, are reported to have been injured in this unprovoked attack by the state. The police have also used shotguns – contrary to what they claim – besides firing rubber and plastic bullets. This is evident in the fact that dozens among the injured are writhing in pain with splinter wounds in Balitutha village at the moment, and no medical help is at sight due to the forced blockade by the police. The forces – who behaved more like hired goons led by officers in responsible positions attacking peaceful villagers – also dragged women by the hair and beat them up badly, resulting in severe injuries.

The presence of massive police force in the area shows the state’s desperation to facilitate corporate businesses in exchange of the country’s valuable natural resources, peoples’ secured lives and livelihoods. This is absolutely undemocratic and unnecessary. We are grieved to note that such moves by the state smack of trading basic democratic values and people’s fundamental rights for corporate interests, and are not at all in the national interest in any way.

In another act of excess and terror, the Kalinganagar area where a TATA steel plant is proposed by the state government is under siege by the forces since 30 March 2010. Villages have been destroyed, people have been forced to move out and take refuge in the forest, and no one – journalists, medical teams, or activists – is allowed to go in there.

It is extremely shocking to learn that one tribal man, named Lakshman Jamuda (55), was killed and many severely injured in police firing in Kalinganagar on 12 May 2010. To hush up the incriminating act of the state government, the police took away Jamuda’s body to Puri and got it cremated by one of his distant relatives, Lalmohan, instead of handing over his body to the immediate family members. Later, Lalmohan confessed to the media that he was made to sign on a blank paper by the police at gun point.

How can such acts of atrocities and excess be justified in a democracy? This is certainly not how a democracy should behave; and we strongly condemn such acts of excess and terror!

Therefore, we the undersigned, request you to intervene at the earliest to uphold people’s faith in democracy and their rights to democratic resistance, and withdraw the police forces from these areas immediately. After establishing peace in these areas, the state should come to dialogue with the people of Jagatsingpur and Jajpur who are peacefully resisting to protect their lands, resources and identity – i.e., fundamental rights of citizens in any democracy.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Prashant Bhushan, Advocate, New Delhi
  2. Medha Patkar, NAPM
  3. Arundhati Roy, Writer and Activist, New Delhi
  4. Sandeep Pandey, NAPM
  5. B Ramakrishna Raju, NAPM, Andhra Pradesh
  6. Praful Samantara, NAPM and Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Orissa
  7. Meher Engineer, Academic, Kolkata
  8. Ashok Chaudhury, NFFPFW, New Delhi
  9. Subrat Kumar Sahu, Independent Filmmaker, New Delhi
  10. Sanjay Bosu Mallick, NFFPFW
  11. Madhumita Dutta, Vettiverr Collective, Chennai
  12. Nityanand Jayaraman, Journalist, Chennai
  13. Shweta Narayan, Community Environmental Monitoring, Chennai
  14. Dr Karen Coelho, Academic, Chennai
  15. Shazia Nigar, Delhi University and NAPM, New Delhi
  16. Soumitra Ghosh, NFFPFW – North Bengal Regional Committee, Siliguri, West Bengal
  17. Mamata Dash, Researcher and Activist, NFFPFW, New Delhi
  18. Amit Sengupta, Journalist, New Delhi
  19. Satya Sivaraman, Journalist, New Delhi
  20. Ravi Hemadri, the Other Media, New Delhi
  21. Manshi Asher, Environment Research and Action Collective, Himachal Pradesh
  22. Shalini Gera, Friends of South Asia, Delhi
  23. Shibayan Raha, New Delhi
  24. Madhu Sarin, Researcher and Activist, Chandigarh
  25. Nandini Sundar, Professor of Sociology, Delhi University
  26. Saswati Swetlana, New Delhi
  27. Ashish Fernandes, Bangalore
  28. Amar Kanwar, Independent Filmmaker, New Delhi
  29. B Karthik Navayan, Advocate, Hyderabad
  30. Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center
  31. Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM
  32. Maj Gen (Retd) S G Vombatkere, NAPM
  33. Rashida Bee, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
  34. Champa Devi Shukla, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
  35. Syed M Irfan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
  36. Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action
  37. Satinath Sarangi, Bhopal Group for Information and Action
  38. Safreen Khan, Children Against Dow Carbide
  39. Kanchi Kohli, Kalpavriksh, New Delhi
  40. Latha Jishnu, Journalist, New Delhi
  41. Chanda Asani, Academic, Jaipur
  42. K P Sasi, Independent Filmmaker, Bangalore
  43. Anivar Aravind, Moving Republic, Bangalore
  44. Ravi Chellam, Bangalore
  45. Sunil, National Vice-President, Samajvadi Jana Parishad
  46. Sanjay Joshi, Gorakhpur Film Festival
  47. Sebastian Rodrigues, Goa
  48. Shankar Gopalkrishnan, Campaign for Survival and Dignity, New Delhi
  49. Sirisha Naidu, Assistant Professor of Economics, Wright State University, OH, USA
  50. Ranjana Padhee, Researcher and Activist, New Delhi
  51. K Babu Rao, Hyderabad
  52. Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Human Rights Activist and Writer, Delhi
  53. Manoranjan Mohanty, Academic, New Delhi
  54. Md Qanit B Takmeel, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
  55. Anand Patwardan, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  56. Nivedita Dash, Journalist, New Delhi
  57. V Rukmini Rao, Gramya Resource Centre for Women, Secunderabad
  58. Vimalbhai, Matu People’s Organization, Uttarakhand
  59. Amit Kumar Dhiman, Mohali, Punjab
  60. Pradeep Kumar, Pathankot, Punjab
  61. Mohan Bhagat, Maryland, USA
  62. Shankar Chellam, Houston, Texas, USA
  63. Anand Mazgoankar, NAPM
  64. Karavali Karnataka Janaabhivriddhi Vedike, Karnataka
  65. Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Samiti, Karnataka
  66. Souparna Lahiri, NFFPFW, New Delhi
  67. Sayantoni Dutta, Researcher, New Delhi
  68. Piyush Sethia, Farmer and Activist, Salem, Tamil Nadu
  69. Kavita Srivastava, National Secretary, PUCL
  70. Lakshmi Premkumar, Researcher, Chennai
  71. Priya Jain, New Delhi
  72. Hartman de Souza, Journalist, Goa
  73. S Jeevan Kumar, President, Human Rights Forum, Hyderabad
  74. V S Krishna, Secretary, Human Rights Forum, Hyderabad
  75. Gurpreet Sidhu, People Tree, New Delhi
  76. Nandini Oza, Writer and Activist, Pune
  77. Sridhar Iyer, Mumbai
  78. Shaweta Anand, Journalist and Researcher, New Delhi
  79. Harsh Dobhal, Human Rights Activist, New Delhi
  80. Praful Bidwai, Columnist and Writer, New Delhi
  81. Preeti Sampat,Scholar and Activist

and many more concerned citizens

Written by janjagriti

May 18, 2010 at 4:10 am

CPI urges PM to review Posco steel project

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New Delhi, May 16:The Communist Party of India (CPI) Sunday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review the clearance given to South Korean steel major Posco for a project in Orissa that has triggered violence in the state’s Jagatsinghpur district. CPI leader D. Raja in a letter to Manmohan Singh alleged that the Orissa government was attacking peaceful protesters against the Posco project, which is “in direct violation of the law”. “I am writing in the context of the brutal attack of the Orissa police on the peaceful protesters,” Raja said in the letter. At least nine people were injured Saturday after police used force to disperse villagers protesting a steel plant project by Posco. The Communist leader said that 3,000 of the 4,000 acres of land to be given for Posco’s steel plant is a forest area. “Under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, many of the people of the area are eligible for rights over this land, especially the lands they are cultivating, as they have been living in the area for more than 75 years,” he said. Posco, one of the world’s biggest steel makers, signed the deal with the Orissa government in June 2005 to set up the project near the port town of Paradip in Jagatsinghpur, by 2016. The project has, however, been delayed for over three years due to various reasons, including protests of local residents. Raja said the project was “nothing less than an attempt to strip this country’s mineral resources for a foreign multinational, with no benefit to either the people of the area or the economy of this country.” “I urge upon you to immediately intervene, instruct the environment ministry to withdraw the illegal clearance, review the Posco project in light of the fact that it is a notorious blacklisted multinational, and halt the police atrocities against the struggling people of the area,” Raja said in the letter to the prime minister. IANS

http://www.siasat.com/english/news/cpi-urges-pm-review-posco-steel-porject

Written by janjagriti

May 17, 2010 at 8:42 am

Posted in Articles