The agitating group of about 200 people were out with an agenda – one, to protest the killings of the three anti-Posco activists in a bomb blast in Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha on March 2, during the protests near the site of the steel plant proposed by POSCO India Pvt Ltd. POSCO India Pvt Ltd is an Indian subsidiary of Korean conglomerate POSCO. The company first came to India in the year 2005 to sign a MoU with the Odisha state government in June the same year, for construction of a $12 billion steel plant in the state. But the project never took off, owing to various environmental and ecological issues surrounding it.
According to a report in The Hindu, “Some goons hired for facilitating the setting up of the mega steel plant by POSCO India Private Limited hurled bombs at our activists. The miscreants were actually targeting Abhaya Sahoo, president of PPSS. But they did not have clear visibility in the dark. As a result, the other four died in the bombing,” alleged PPSS spokesperson Prasant Paikray. The PPSS strongly condemned this “barbaric and inhuman killing of innocent villagers” and demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits. The district administration, however, contradicted its claims”.
It has also been alleged that the state government has been carrying out forced land acquisitions from farmers and land owners in Jagatsinghpur district for making space for the steel plant project. The locals from the area earmarked for the steel plant have been opposing the project, stating that their land is fertile and is their only source of livelihood. “The land is rich and fertile, with kaju and grain cultivation thriving there,” an activist of the PPSS said.
The activists demonstrating outside a railway station in Navi Mumbai also drafted a petition of demands to be sent to the Odisha Chief Minister via the Odisha Bhawan in Navi Mumbai.
The petition demands the following – a probe into the killings of the 3 anti-Posco activists, immediate resignation of the district collector and police commissioner of Jagatsinghpur district and scrapping of , what they call “defunct”, Posco deal in totality.
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