Anti-Posco protest intensifies, children used as human shields

The protest against  land acquisition for the proposed $12-billion POSCO plant in Orissa  has intensified.

Women and children are taking the lead to guard their land from security forces who have moved into Orissa's Dhinkia village.

A day after declaring the assembly of anti-Posco agitators at entry point to Dhinkia area near here as "unlawful", the Orissa government has redeployed police force and has even hinted at action if protestors continue to prevent movement of officials at the proposed steel project site.

 Anti-Posco protest intensifies, children used as human shields

Children and women of Gobindpur village lying the ground during a protest against POSCO in Jagatsinghpur district. PTI

Police were withdrawn from the area on Friday as the district administration of Jagatsinghpur made efforts to persuade the agitators to allow movement of officials in the area for land acquisition work for the project, they said.

Nearly 200  villagers including men, women and children, refusing to give away their land for the steel plant, formed a three-tier human barricade at the entry point to prevent the entry of police and administration in the proposed plant area.They refused to budge an inch from their place of agitation with children on the fore front and women and elderly persons following them.

Over a 100 children are being used as human shields to halt the ongoing land acquisition process. The kids were lying face down on a field in the hot sun, facing 20 platoons armed forces.

However, prominent leaders including Abhay Sahu of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) were not present in the scene. "We skipped the agitation place to avoid police action," PPSS Secretary and Dhinkia Gram Panchayat Sarpanch Sisir Mohapatra said from a hideout.

People in Dhinkia Panchayat have been demanding relocation of the project for the past six months.  They say it will deprive them of their major source of income from the betel vines spread across nearly 3000 acres of forest land. Last month, the Jairam Ramesh-led Environment Ministry gave the go-ahead to the Korean steel giant to build the steel plant in the state.


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Updated Date: Jun 11, 2011 13:52:39 IST