Activists Fear Carnage As Acquisition Clock Ticks In Odisha
09 June, 2011
Villagers of Dhinkia and Gobindpur who are keeping a day and night vigil to prevent forcible land acquisition for the Rs 52,000 crore integrated POSCO steel project, fear that the police might unleash a mid-night action any time similar to what happened at the Ramlila grounds few days ago. More than 20 platoons of police are currently stationed at the mouth of these villages and any ill-conceived move to forcibly acquire land or evict the protesters might lead to bloodshed.
According to an activist of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) more than 4000 villagers including women and children are camping on the outskirts of the village to take on any eventuality. "They were planning to enter the villages day before yesterday but they had postponed the decision. We fear that they might enter Gobindpur Friday," says Dhirendra Pande.
Abhaya Sahu, leader of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) has advised villagers including women and children in Gobindpur to vacate their homes and keep strict vigil on the outskirts of Gobindpur to oppose the land acquisition work.
Two days before the world celebrated environment day on June 3rd, 17 people were arrested and beaten by the police for obstructing land acquisition in Kujanga which did not much witness much opposition. Dhinkia and Gobindpur villages account for 60 per cent of the total betelvines in the POSCO project area and the opposition to the project is fierce.
"We don't know what the strategy of the police is. They possibly want to break up the agitation and arrest some leaders," says Prakash Paikare, spokesperson for PPSS. But there is a human wall in place to defend any move to forcibly acquire land and this he fears might end up in nothing less than a carnage.
The authorities are planning to acquire more than 3400 hectares of forest land in Dhinkia and Gobindpur villages for the project in violation of the Forest Rights Act.
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