As you may be aware our leader Mr. Abhaya Sahoo had to take the
extreme step of sitting on hunger strike till the time withdrawal of
armed police force from our area is completed. His fast has been going
on at Patna Hat village since the morning of 5th February 2013 though
he is not in good health.
While thanking you all for the support and solidarity you have been
extending to the movement which certainly keeps our hope alive even
when forcible displacement and despair knocks at our door, we do also
appeal you on behalf our agitating villagers to please come and join
us physically at the site of the Dharana in Govindapur and Patana Hat.
You may be a leader/activist of a political party or a social movement
or a progressive intellectual, a media person, does matter where you
belong to- please come and join us in the peaceful demonstration at
Govindpur against the government’s coercive action to forcibly
dislodge us from our land and livelihoods.
We have already informed you about the happenings on 3rd February dawn
when police force forcefully entered Govidnapur village and blocked
the area from all sides and started beating our villagers mercilessly.
Our women are complaining about torture and sexual atrocities in the
hands of the police. They did also pull down trees and betel vines,
the major sources of our livelihood.
On 6th of February 2013, the district administration of Odisha was
forced to halt the operation at around noon when hundreds of women and
children formed a human barricade and said the police ‘Kill us first
before you proceed further,".
A large number of activists from CPI, CPM,CPI ML, Liberation, Forward
Bloc, Samajwadi Party, RJD and members from different social movements
also participated in the demonstration. The supporters and activists
of opposition Congress and BJP also joined the gherao agitation lead
by Com Raja. It seems that the government would resume land
acquisition work today.
Social activist, Swami Agnivesh was scheduled to visit Gobindpur
village today to express solidarity with our villagers.
We don’t understand the Odisha government’s determination to go ahead
with the forceful land acquisition process for the steel plant despite
the fact that Posco does not have an environmental clearance for the
project. The environmental clearance given by the Ministry of
Environment and Forests (MoEF) on January 31, 2011 was suspended by
the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 30 of 2012.
Posco does not even have a memorandum of understanding with the state
government now. The one it had signed on July 22, 2005 lapsed on July
21, 2010 and no fresh MoU has been signed so far. So what is the basis
on which the state is acquiring land for the project ?
Even, the palli sabha meeting of Govindpur, and the gram sabha
meeting of Dhinkia panchayat on 18 October, 2012, more than 2000
residents unanimously voted against diversion of land for Posco’s
project under provisions of the Forest Rights Act 2006. The ongoing
land acquisition is a blatant violation of the Forest Rights Act as
the rights over forest lands in our area are not being recognized and
vested and consent of the Palli Sabhas has not been obtained by the
There is a clear indication that the government is acting at the
behest of and for the benefit of the private company and is in a
hurry to begin work even when the new land acquisition bill is being
considered by the Parliament, which mandates consent of nearly 70%
people in a village before acquiring their land for any project. The
project is also facing court cases relating to allotment of iron ore
mines and water as well.
We have been questioning the project's potential to generate jobs for
the people and the net benefit the country will get after sacrificing
land, water and doling out concessions to the foreign company. The
government’s is completely silent on its part to discuss the issues
involving the project.
At this juncture, once again, we earnestly appeal you to join us and
express your solidarity with villagers of Govindpur.
Hoping for solidarity,
Spokesperson, POSCO (POSCO PRATIRODH SANGRAM SAMITI) Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org