Tribals oppose road construction in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar, Mar. 31 (ANI): At least five people were injured in a clash between police and tribals opposing construction of the Common Corridor Road in Kalinga Nagar - the steel hub of Orissa.

The clash broke out when the police went there to make preventive arrests of tribal leaders to facilitate the construction of the road.

Police fired rubber bullets, lobbed tear gas shells and resorted to baton-charge to disperse the tribals, who reportedly pelted security men with stones.

"When we went to ask them to stop the construction, the police resorted to violence. Some of us started shouting slogans and then the police began firing at us. Four to five people have been seriously injured. They even shot at our cattle, vandalised our houses and destroyed our belongings. Even our vehicles were damaged by the police," said VVJM activist Rabindra Jarika.

The construction work for the Common Corridor Road had restarted on Monday after being discontinued following violent opposition by the tribal group, Visthapan Virodhi Janamanch (VVJM) or People's Forum Against Displacement.

The 12,000-acre Kalinga Nagar complex, some 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, has about 10 industrial units and steel plants.

In January 2006, 14 people were killed in Kalinga Nagar when police opened fire during a protest by villagers against acquisition of land for setting up industries.

The tribesmen have been demanding the return of the land acquired by the Government 50 years ago to set up steel plants. (ANI)

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