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Archive for the ‘Anti POSCO’ Category

Joint Resolution

PASSED AT THE JOINT CONVENTION AT GANDHI PEACE FOUNDATION

On 24 October 2008

Demanding

Immediate release and immediate withdrawal of false criminal cases against Abhay Sahu and other activists of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti,

and Condemning

the increasing state repression in Orissa against peaceful resistance of people against anti-people steel project

In exercise of their Constitutional right to dissent, and the right to a life with dignity, which includes the right to a livelihood of their choice, people of Dhinkia, Gobindpur, and Gadakujang panchayats of Jagatsingpur district in Orissa have put up a non-violent resistance for the past three years against forcible take-over of their lands and resources by the Korean steel giant POSCO. The state government’s dubious plans to build a mega steel plant on their lands will not only devastate the sustainable livelihood systems of thousands of local people, it will also pauperize many more lakhs of people, when the port and mining associated with the project are considered.

Using force to repress people’s democratic voices is not new to the state, though this method of repression has reached another high point with the arrest of PPSS president Abhay Sahu, who was arrested on 12 October 2008. The police claim to have registered as many as 25 (completely false) ‘direct’ cases against him. In all Abhay Sahu is implicated in over 70 cases. The police have also simultaneously launched a malicious campaign against him through the already corporatised media. The sole object of employing such tactics is to prolong the process of Abhay Sahu’s release, and further intimidate people opposed to the project and such projects elsewhere in the state including Kashipur, Lanjigarh, and Kalinganagar.

The state’s latest action is also an attempt to hide from the public gaze its utter inability, and barefaced unwillingness to contain the communal violence in Kandhamal and other parts of Orissa. In other words, while the state is working overtime to squeeze all democratic spaces and deny people their rights, it is opening up new areas for communal hatred and corporate land-grab.

Despite the state’s increasingly repressive regime, the ongoing struggle by the PPSS has been intensified to a new height since Abhay Sahu’s malafide arrest, with more local residents, especially women, joining in and more democratic voices from all over the world condemning the state for acting in denigration of Constitutional values and human rights, and in favour of corporate interests.

We demand:

  • · Withdrawal of all cases against Abhay Sahu and other PPSS activists
  • · Immediate and unconditional release of Abhaya Sahu and other PPSS activists
  • · Immediate withdrawal of police forces which have surrounded the area affecting the day-to-day life of the people
  • · Scrapping of the POSCO project, which has been strongly resisted by the local people since it displaces people, violates their land rights, deprives them of their livelihood and destroys natural resources and the ecology of the region
  • Stop repression on people fighting to protect their lands and resources throughout the state.
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PRESS RELEASE

24th October 2008

POLITICAL PARTIES AND CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS CONDEMN INCREASING STATE REPRESSION OF PEACEFUL RESISTANCES

AND

DEMAND RELEASE OF POSCO PRATIRODH SANGAM SAMITI LEADER ABHAYA SAHU

Political parties and civil society groups, in a Convention organised in Delhi today, 24 October 2008, expressed concern regarding the malafide arrest of Abhay Sahu and other activists of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti and the increasing state repression in Orissa against peaceful resistance of people against anti-people steel project and demanded immediate and unconditional release of Abhay Sahu and other PPSS activists.

Abhay Sahu, the president of the PPSS (POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti), was arrested by the Orissa police near Pattamundai in Jagtsingpur district in the evening on 12 October 2008 while returning from a medical check-up. The police claim to have registered as many as 25 ‘direct’ cases against him. In all he is implicated in over 70 cases. Speakers at the Convention noted that this was the latest attempt by the Orissa government to undermine the anti-POSCO agitation. The Convention noted that while the using force to repress people’s democratic voices is not new to the state, though this method of repression has reached another high point with the arrest of Abhay Sahu.

A Joint Resolution signed by over 50 people issued at the Convention, noted that it is in exercise of their Constitutional right to dissent, and the right to a life with dignity, which includes the right to a livelihood of their choice that people of Dhinkia, Gobindpur, and Gadakujang panchayats of Jagatsingpur district in Orissa have put up a non-violent resistance for the past three years against forcible take-over of their lands and resources by the Korean steel giant POSCO. The Declaration also noted that the police after arresting Sahu, also simultaneously launched a malicious campaign against him through the already corporatised media.  The sole object of employing such tactics is to prolong the process of Abhay Sahu’s release, and further intimidate people opposed to the project and such projects elsewhere in the state including Kashipur, Lanjigarh and Kalinganagar.   The Convention unanimously demanding immediate withdrawal of false criminal cases against Abhay Sahu and other activists of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti and their immediate release.

The convention was convened by Manoranjan Mohanty, Sumit Chakravartty, BD Sharma, Usha Ramanathan, Ashok Agarwal, Ravi Hemadri

The speakers at the convention included Prashant Paikray (PPSS, Orissa), Sudhir Pattnaik, Activist and Editor, Samadrusti, Orissa; A B Bardhan (CPI); B D Sharma( Bharat Jan Andolan), Dr. Usha Ramanathan (Legal Researcher); D Bandopadhyaya (Former Land Reforms Commissioner, West Bengal), Aparna Sarin, CPI – ML (New Democracy) and Kavita Krishnan CPI – ML (Liberation) among others.

For the past three years, the people of Dhinkia, Gobindpur, and Nuagaon panchayats in Kujang Tehsil of Jagatsinghpur District in Orissa, under the banner of the PPSS, have also been relentlessly resisting the take-over of their resources for the establishment of a 12-million-tonne mega steel plant by POSCO, the second largest steel-making company of the world. The project, being touted as the largest ever FDI in the history of India, with an investment of 51,000-crore rupees, will have large-scale, irreversible socio-economic and environmental impacts not only on the areas under the threat of immediate acquisition but over vast numbers of the state’s people, and huge tracts of its forests and other lands. POSCO’s assertion that its project will lead to the creation of 45,000 jobs, directly or indirectly, is meaningless in the face of the fact that the proposed steel plant, port, and mines will directly dispossess many lakh people, apart from having very deleterious effects on the lives of many millions more. Further, an examination of the MoU signed by the Naveen Pattnaik government with POSCO establishes the fact that the government has agreed to transfer lakhs of crores worth resources for almost no returns to the state exchequer.

Endorsed by:

PPSS, PEACE, Sandharbh Kendra, Saheli, Pratidhwani, INSAF, Delhi Forum, SRCC, Deshbandhu College, Kalpavriksh, CACIM, Delhi Solidarity Group, National Alliance for Agricultural Worker’s Union, The Other Media, Matu Jan Sangathan, Hazards Centre, South Asian Dialogues for Ecological Democracy ,Centre for Studies on Developing Societies, AISF, AIYF, CPI, JNUTA, National Campaign for Land and Livelihood, CSD, Bonded Labour liberation Front, Himalaya Seva Sangh, Global Gandhi Forum, Bharat Jan Aandolon, Friends of the Earth, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Teesra Swadhinta Abhiyan, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, Kashipur Solidarity Group, PWESCR.

For Further details please contact:

Subrat – 9868182363, subrat69@gmail.com

Sridevi – 9868099304, sridevi.panikkar@gmail.com

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PRESS INVITE

CONVENTION

TO

EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH THE ANTI-POSCO MOVEMENT IN ORISSA

AND

CONDEMN THE INCREASING STATE REPRESSION ON PEACEFUL RESISTANCES

AND

DEMAND RELEASE OF PPSS LEADER ABHAYA SAHU

Date: 24 October 2008

Time: 2.30 p.m. – 5.30 p.m.

Venue: Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi

Speakers include: Prashant Paikray (PPSS, Orissa); Sudhir Pattnaik (Activist and Editor of Samadrusti, Orissa); A B Bardhan; Justice Rajendar Sachar; B D Sharma (Bharat Jan Andolan); Surendra Mohan (Samajwadi Jan Parishad); Usha Ramanathan; Prashant Bhushan; D Bandopadhyaya; and Others

Conveners: Manoranjan Mohanty; Sumit Chakravorty; B D Sharma; Usha Ramanathan; Ashok Agarwal; Ravi Hemadri

Background

For the past three years, the people of Dhinkia, Gobindpur, and Nuagaon panchayats in Kujang Tehsil of Jagatsinghpur District in Orissa, under the banner of the PPSS (POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti), have been relentlessly and non-violently resisting the take-over of their resources for the establishment of a mega steel plant and a port by the Korean steel giant POSCO. In the latest attempt by the Orissa government to undermine the anti-POSCO agitation, the president of the PPSS, Abhay Sahu, was malafidely arrested on 12 October 2008. His arrest once again brings to public attention how the government has become brazen in favour of corporate interests, and is increasingly overt in using repression, intimidation and, worse, to silence people’s democratic voices. While the state government has an obligatory duty to contain the spreading communal violence at the moment, it has rather adopted the age-old tactics to divert public attention from its inability and unwillingness to do so by arresting Abhay Sahu in a desperate bid to intimidate all democratic peaceful resistances. Despite the repression unleashed on them, the villagers and their supporters have stood their ground and have further intensified the resistance, refusing to part with their land and soil.

Undemocratic measures taken by the state to crush peoples’ peaceful movements needs is widely condemned and it is time for all concerned citizens to strengthen the collective resistance against such repression. The convention is aimed to consolidate people’s strength into a collective in order to contribute to the process of resisting forceful acquisition of lands and natural resources in the name of ‘development’ (that has become synonymous of ‘devastation’) and uphold people’s right to dissent in defence of their lives and livelihoods.

Contacts:

Sridevi Panikkar – 91+9868099304; sridevi.panikkar@gmail.com

Subrat K Sahu – 91+9868182363; subrat69@gmail.com

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