Deployment of 20 platoons of armed force in the POSCO project area near Paradeep in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa has made the place look like a battleground.
It’s to facilitate land acquisition for POSCO that the government has made such huge deployment of forces which is strongly condemned by members of civil society who argue that no industrialization should take place against the wish of people who are losing everything for the industry.
“The forces took a family to the police station for they didn’t agree to handover their land. The family members were beaten in the Police Station and then were released. Another man from Nolia Sahi also faced police atrocities for opposing the administration’s land grabbing drives. The government seems to have gone mad to bring POSCO on the land of thousands of farmers who virtually make a standard living out of it. Government even do not restrain it from using armed forces to grab the land against the wishes of the farmers, Thanks to the brigade of women and children who have come on the roads and have stopped government forces from entering the villages to grab land”, said Chaudhary Pratap Keshari Mishra, a retired High Court Justice.
Now, the fresh trick applied by the protestors is making women and children sleep on the roads to prevent the administration and police from entering their villages to grab the land.
However, use of children by the protestors and making them sleep on sand under the sun again raises questions.
“The children are the future owners of the land. When they see that their parents are being put in trouble for protecting their land, they have all right to oppose the government and the company who have come to grab their land”, said Prafulla Samantara, Human Rights Activist and Convener of National Alliance of People’s Movement
When protestors have used their trick to stop the government from acquiring land for POSCO, the forces are in place to ensure the acquisition of land by the administration. However, local leaders and members of the ruling party still say that everything goes by peoples’ will.
“20 platoons of police force could have smashed the protest and the protestors had they ever tries to do so. But because the government has always been emphasizing upon peaceful industrialization, the forces have restrained themselves for acting harsh against the agitation staged by the protestors most of whom are communists. And, now by using children and making them sleep on hot sand under the sun, the communists have exposed how cruel they can be just to stop industrialization”, said Dr Damodar Rout, Former Minister and Paradeep MLA
Even though government is trying hard to acquire land and make POSCO come quickly in the proposed area, this force of kids and women would cause bigger troubles on the way of Orissa Government’s forceful industrialization.
Dateline: June 11, 2011, Bhubaneswar & Jagatsinghpur (Orissa, India)