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Spate of arrests in Orissa’s Dhinkia, protesting activists held

Supporters of the anti-Jindal protests condemned police attempts to keep local leaders from meeting families

Sabrangindia 07 Jun 2022

Gitanjali Das
Image Courtesy: newindianexpress.com

Odisha’s Dhinkia police arrested Dalit woman Gitanjali Das on June 6, 2022 on reportedly false charges while she was merely demanding that local activists’ families’ have a right to visit their kin. She has been charged under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code which is an offence of attempt to murder!

On January 14, anti-Jindal and Anti-POSCO Movement leaders Debendra Swain, Murlidhar Sahu and INSAF State Convener Narendra Mohanty were arrested. Villagers complained that the police prevented families from meeting their kin. Concerned, Jagatsinghpur’s local political leaders and progressive groups like the Lok Shakti Abhiyan (LSA) wrote to the Director General of Police (DGP) citing people’s basic right to move wherever they want in the country. They received no response to these letters although a similar letter was sent on June 7.

On Monday, a delegation of Medha Patkar, Professor Manoranjan Mohanty, Lingaraj and Sudarshan Pradhan met with Swain to talk about his arrest. The group intended to then meet his 85-year-old mother in Dhinkia village but they were stopped by the police mid-way. According to LSA President Prafulla Samantara, the police claimed that the delegation will divide the people and cause troubles. It was during this time that Das tried to reason with the authorities. She asked why the families could not meet the arrested.

For this alone, Das was arrested under Section 307 that relates to attempted murder, said Samantara.“This shows that people’s personal liberty is under threat. Das protested to such illegal prevention. She was handed over to police by company supporters and she was arrested under 307 and sent to jail. How can the police stop anyone, especially families from meeting their kin?” asked Samantara.

Further, he pointed out how he and Lingaraj wrote letters separately to DGP, Odisha about Patkar's visit to the families of jailed villagers. This was to avoid any obstacle by company supporters. Copies of this letter were sent to the District Superintendent SP. Yet, the police did not respond. “Instead, they provoked company supporters to prevent Patkar to enter village," said Prafulla Samantara.

In January, protest leaders released a fact-finding report on the conflict between local authorities and Dhinkia villagers. Since 2005, villagers opposed POSCO-India Private Limited’s development project in the area. Locals resisted the idea citing the issue of forest rights settlement under the Forest Rights Act 2006.

However, when the company backed away in 2017, the High-Level Clearance Authority (HLCA) chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik transferred the land to the JSW Utkal Steel Limited (JUSL). This move violated the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR) of 2013. Yet, authorities even granted a forest clearance despite claims that the villagers faced severe oppression from police.

Related:

Odisha: 3 activists arrested for speaking truth to power in fact-finding report
Dhinkia: A story of perseverance against administrative oppression
End police oppression! FIAN Int. stands with Odisha’s adivasis
Odisha Police beat up Adivasi villagers
Tougher than Steel: Odisha villagers condemn govt's to attempts to usurp their land

Spate of arrests in Orissa’s Dhinkia, protesting activists held

Supporters of the anti-Jindal protests condemned police attempts to keep local leaders from meeting families

Gitanjali Das
Image Courtesy: newindianexpress.com

Odisha’s Dhinkia police arrested Dalit woman Gitanjali Das on June 6, 2022 on reportedly false charges while she was merely demanding that local activists’ families’ have a right to visit their kin. She has been charged under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code which is an offence of attempt to murder!

On January 14, anti-Jindal and Anti-POSCO Movement leaders Debendra Swain, Murlidhar Sahu and INSAF State Convener Narendra Mohanty were arrested. Villagers complained that the police prevented families from meeting their kin. Concerned, Jagatsinghpur’s local political leaders and progressive groups like the Lok Shakti Abhiyan (LSA) wrote to the Director General of Police (DGP) citing people’s basic right to move wherever they want in the country. They received no response to these letters although a similar letter was sent on June 7.

On Monday, a delegation of Medha Patkar, Professor Manoranjan Mohanty, Lingaraj and Sudarshan Pradhan met with Swain to talk about his arrest. The group intended to then meet his 85-year-old mother in Dhinkia village but they were stopped by the police mid-way. According to LSA President Prafulla Samantara, the police claimed that the delegation will divide the people and cause troubles. It was during this time that Das tried to reason with the authorities. She asked why the families could not meet the arrested.

For this alone, Das was arrested under Section 307 that relates to attempted murder, said Samantara.“This shows that people’s personal liberty is under threat. Das protested to such illegal prevention. She was handed over to police by company supporters and she was arrested under 307 and sent to jail. How can the police stop anyone, especially families from meeting their kin?” asked Samantara.

Further, he pointed out how he and Lingaraj wrote letters separately to DGP, Odisha about Patkar's visit to the families of jailed villagers. This was to avoid any obstacle by company supporters. Copies of this letter were sent to the District Superintendent SP. Yet, the police did not respond. “Instead, they provoked company supporters to prevent Patkar to enter village," said Prafulla Samantara.

In January, protest leaders released a fact-finding report on the conflict between local authorities and Dhinkia villagers. Since 2005, villagers opposed POSCO-India Private Limited’s development project in the area. Locals resisted the idea citing the issue of forest rights settlement under the Forest Rights Act 2006.

However, when the company backed away in 2017, the High-Level Clearance Authority (HLCA) chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik transferred the land to the JSW Utkal Steel Limited (JUSL). This move violated the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR) of 2013. Yet, authorities even granted a forest clearance despite claims that the villagers faced severe oppression from police.

Related:

Odisha: 3 activists arrested for speaking truth to power in fact-finding report
Dhinkia: A story of perseverance against administrative oppression
End police oppression! FIAN Int. stands with Odisha’s adivasis
Odisha Police beat up Adivasi villagers
Tougher than Steel: Odisha villagers condemn govt's to attempts to usurp their land

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