Left demands withdrawal of police force from POSCO

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 02: Four Left Front parties in Orissa today demanded immediate withdrawal of the police force from Dhinkia village, the proposed site for South Korea Steel major POSCO's mega steel plant, and demanded an all party meeting for an alternate project site.

Briefing newsmen here, leaders of the CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc and CPI(ML) alleged that the state government had used the police and muscle power to suppress the local people's agitation against the plant on their fertile land.

They said the recent attack on the women and children opposing the POSCO project at Balitutha was a ''naked reflection of the desperate attempt of the state government'' and threatened to launch a statewide agitation against the incident.

CPI state secretary D K Panda and Dibakar Nayak said the blockade at the Balitutha by the villagers was against the entry of the state government and POSCO officials and not meant for the local villagers.

However, the hired goons of the local ruling party MLA hurled bombs and set fire to the camp injuring several agitators in presence of police force, they alleged.

Describing the incident as a clear human rights violation, the CPI leaders demanded that the 16 platoon police force deployed in and around the Dhinkia village be withdrawn forthwith or else ''another Kalinga Nagar or Nandigram would be repeated there.''

Forward Bloc state secretary Santosh Mitra alleged that the hired anti-social elements had almost taken over the area and even the mediapersons were not allowed to enter the villages. Mr Mitra said the local people would put up a strong resistance and his party would support them if the state government tried to acquire their land for the project.

CPM Leader Subash Singh also demanded immediate withdrawal of the police force from the Dhinkia village and warned that there would be statewide agitations by the Left parties if the government went ahead with its proposal to set up the POSCO project displacing thousands of the people from their fertile land.

CPI(ML) Leader Khitish Biswal cautioned the state government that it would be held responsible for any violence in the area.

He apprehended that a Nandigram-like situation would be repeated in Dhinkia if the police forces deployed in the area were not withdrawn.

UNI

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