Prafulla Samantaray questioned Odisha C M on silence over state terrorism
By S R Dash
While their is widespread resentment among the people of Odisha on forcible land acquisition at Dhinkia of Jagatsinghapur for JSW Plant , veteran social activist , Goldman Environmental Prize Awardee and President Lok Shakti Abhiyan Mr Prafulla Samantaray questioned the Chief Minister on silence over state terrorism by police on villagers who resist the destructive project in Dhinkia Charidesh.
In a urgent letter to Mr Naveen Pattnaik Chief Minister of Odisha, Mr Samantaray, a political- social activist concerned for climate justice , criticised the C M for his silence when police administration in Jagatsinghpur district is terrorising and unleashing repression with brutal lathicharge on villagers of Dhinkia Charidesh where for ten years they struggled non violently against POSCO project which was to destroy their livelihood system based on natural resources like land, water and sea.
POSCO had to quit but false criminal charges on 1200 villagers including half of them women have not been withdrawn. At least to respect the dignity of people the cases could have been withdrawn and the forcefully acquired land with betel vines should be returned back to the tillers as per Land Aquisition Act 2013.But instead , government invited Sajan Jindal's JSW Utkal Steel Ltd which is more destructive so far environmental crisis is concerned- told Mr Samantaray.
This project consisting of three highly polluting units of steel of 13 mt , cement of 10mt and Coal thermal power plant of 900 MW not only needs 1000 acres of land more but also will create very dangerous pollution in 10 km redious villages .
This is large populous area nearer to Paradeep which has been identified as one of most polluted industrial area.More than 25000 people will be forced to leave their habitats after 3 to 5 years of commissioning the project because of serious health crisis,water crisis with heat and poisonous atmosphere due to emission of cumulative gren house gases .
Mr Samantaray told that , “This is injustice and undemocratic that the people are imposed to accept such inevitable destruction of their life and livelihood.”
Without getting Environmental clearence for the project the administration is hurried to acquire forestland on which the villagers as forest dwellers have rights under FRA2006 as recommended by the Meena Gupta Committee in the year 2010 .
“The administration claims that betel vines area dismentled with concent of farmers but it is totally untruth as the the district Police Superintendent Akhilesh Singh like an agent of Company has been using police force and threatens betel vine owners forcing them to give consent otherwise some of villagers who did not agree have been sent to jail on false charges.” - told Mr Samantaray.
Twice police entered Dhinkia and terrorised villagers , arrested a paralysed oldman and his young daughter after failed to get his family member Debendra Swain ,elected Samiti member and leader of Anti Jindal project.During these criminal operations the protesting villagers were bitten by police .
On 14 th January when the villagers were peacefully marching to protect their betel vines from illegally destruction by police force, they including aged men ,old women and children were attacked, lathicharged brutally and injured severely and some of them have been put in jail. Since then many villagers are being scared and unable to come their homes under police threat as the police force has camped inside the village .
“The SP personally visits village Dhinkia and gives warning to arrest if villagers are not ready to give consent to break their betel vines. At the same time there is continuity of destroying betel vines forcefully without consent.”- Samantaray told .
For last three months the villagers have no freedom to go out side even to work for wages for which they are being deprived of getting two meals daily for their families .
This is nothing but state terrorism to force the villagers to accept the killer industry at the cost of their right to life and livelihood.
When the Human Rights groups, Social activists all over India along with leaders of all opposition political parties of Odisha state expressed concern and demanded to withdraw police force and not to have industry on dead bodies of villagers , the C M is silent on such violation of human rights and even not being inclined for urgent direction to create democratic space to have dialogue with villagers .
Mr Samantaray urged the CM to deliver justice to victims and affected villagers of police attack and stop forceful breaking of betel vines.
Mr Samantaray along with leaders of Sanyukt Kisan Morch of Odisha have demanded to cancel the unacceptable unwanted said most polluting JSW Utkal Steel Ltd project and withdraw police force from Dhinkia Charidesh and withdraw all false cases against struggling people since 2005 till now.
Odisha needs small and medium scale industries without destruction of natural resources and government should opt for intermediary industries by the existing extractive plants for which state's resources have been exploited beyond the limit.