Expressing shock at the death of three people in a bomb explosion at the proposed Posco plant site, Congress today asked Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take effective steps to prevent ‘bloodbath’ in the area and shift the proposed project elsewhere.
“The Chief Minister should show some concern for the loss of human lives. We are saddened by the plight of people who continue to suffer due to the apathy of the state government. This must end,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik said in a statement.
“We have said earlier also, and we repeat, shift the plant site to another nearby locality which is not too far away from the present one and is also vacant,” he said.
Congress has always maintained this and last month a 17-member delegation had submitted a memorandum to Governor M C Bhandare demanding immediate steps to stop alleged police atrocities and ‘goondaraj’ of ruling BJD activists, Patnaik said.
The state government has failed to keep its promise that there would not be forcible acquisition of land for the steel project and the administration has been evicting people with the help of police, the OPCC chief said.
The Congress leader also asked police to refrain from accusing people before it has conducted a preliminary inquiry.
“Please conduct an inquiry before you accuse people,” Patnaik said.
3 anti-project activists were killed on Saturday while allegedly making bombs.
For more than 7 years now, the the local Adivasis of Orissa whose lands are proposed by the State and Central government to be given to the Korean Company Posco, have been resisting and fighting a brave non violent battle to save their lands and livelihoods. These lands are being compulsorily acquired by the government in violation of the PESA Act, without the consent of the local gram Sabhas, for mining and the Steel plant of Posco, which will use our Iron ore, convert it into steel and then export it all out of India. This is worse than the colonial exploitation of the East India Company which is being promoted by our callous governments in the name of FDI.
The State government has repeatedly unleashed police and para military violence on the peaceful adivasis protesting their forcible displacement. The latest incident where bombs were hurled at the anti Posco movement leader Abhay Sahoos house at which 3 people were killed and many more critically injured, followed immediately by the renewed drive to take over the lands of the Adivasis shows very clearly how the State government is now using criminal elements of the company to try and frighten the people and drive them out of their lands. It shows the cold blooded callousness of both governments who have placed the profits of a foreign company over every interest of the local adivasis and the country.
The Aam Aadmi Party demands that the state government immediately halt this land acquisition, return the already acquired land to the original land holders, scrap the Posco project, whose environmental clearance already stands cancelled by the Green Tribunal, compensate the Tribals for the various losses caused to them, the indignities heaped upon them . The government must also institute an independent Investigation into the various acts of violence perpetrated on the Adivasis by the police and other criminal elements and fix accountability on the perpetrators and conspirators.