The involvement of the anti-Posco villagers including women and kids got a big boost today with noted environmentalist cum Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar deciding to join them in intensifying the stir against land acquisition work for the project.
Patkar’s decision to plunge into the movement has emboldened the anti-Posco protesters who vowed to sacrifice their lives for their mother land on the occasion of Martyr’s Day.
Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the organization spearheading the movement against the Posco project observed Monday as Martyr’s Day, commemorating the death of anti-Posco activist Dula Mandal who had sacrificed his life on June 20, 2008, protesting against the project.
PPSS led by its leader Abhaya Sahu conducted a meeting and demonstrated a dharana at the project site for preventing the entry of police and officials to protest alleged forcible land acquisition.
Speaking on the occasion, Patkar said, “The land acquisition is going on in an undemocratic manner at three panchayats. Officials should understand that land acquisition cannot happen at gun point.”
“People have the right to protest. Without local people’s consent how can the government acquire the land?” she asked.
Stating that acquiring land without people’s consent is a gross violation of human rights, Patkar said, “I am with the women and children of these villagers to extend my cooperation to protest the Posco project.”
The gram sabha is the final word and the villages at the Posco site should be allowed to decide about this plant, she noted.
“Let the villagers be allowed to give their opinion though palli sabha and gram sabha,” she remarked.