Odisha anti-Posco stir; 15 injured

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 07, 2013 14:40 hrs

Bhubaneswar, March 7 (IANS) At least 15 people, including five policemen, were injured in a clash between policemen and anti-Posco activists Thursday in Odisha's Jagatsinghpur district, police said.

Police were resorted to a mild baton charge when hundreds of villagers attempted to ransack a police camp in Gobindpur village and attacked them, district Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Sahu told IANS.

At least 10 protestors and five policemen sustained minor injuries in the clash, he said.

However, anti-Posco leader Prashant Paikray said it was the police which attacked the villagers who were demonstrating peacefully seeking withdrawal of police force from the area.

"Police attacked the peaceful protestors. More than 40 people mostly women have sustained injuries," he told IANS.

He accused the government of maintaining double standards. "On one hand, the government is claiming that it was acquiring land peacefully while on the other hand it is using police force which is contradictory," he said.

South Korean giant Posco's proposed 12 million tonnes per annum steel plant is the largest foreign investment in India. It is to come up near the port town of Paradip, about 120 km from here.

The local administration claimed it acquired about 2,000 acres of land in the region in 2011 and about 300 acres in recent months. It has set up a police camp at Gobindpur to acquire the remaining land in the area for the project.

Although there was no land takeover Thursday, the anti-Posco activists were demanding withdrawal of the police force from the region.

At least three anti-Posco activists were killed and another critically injured in explosions earlier this month in Patna village close to Gobindpur. The activists said it was an attack by the project's supporters but police termed it accidental. Patna village is considered an anti-Posco bastion.

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