MAC: Mines and Communities

POSCO protestors manhandled by police in front of Navin Nivas

Published by MAC on 2006-10-15
Source: Unknown

POSCO protestors manhandled by police in front of Navin Nivas

Report from SS Dash, Bhubaneshwar

15th October 2006

About 300 people, mostly women and children from Jagatsinghpur arched early morning to day to submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister (CM) demanding to put a stop to the POSCO project. Medha Patekar and B.D.Sharma were also participating in the rally. When the people reached the CM's residence the Police gheraoed them and a scuffle to drag them away ensued leaving four people critically injured including a senior citizen who has been on indefinite starvation for more than 20 days.

The police showed no consideration to the fact that people were on indefinite starvation and had barely managed to walk from PMG square to the CMs house at Palaspali. Women and children were dragged across the concrete roads and pushed into the vans. The police also asked the media to turn its face away so that they could get over with the people in a much more faster and needless to say inhuman way. The police was also shouting profanities and every given opportuity digging their elbows as hard as they could into the ribs of the protestors. It was the presence of Medha and B D Sharma that made the police restrain its hand else mayhem was on the verge of breaking out. Medha's repeated appeal not to use violent methods to the Police went to vain as men, women and children were beaten, intimidated and herded into vans. There was no presence of any ladies police in the first 30 minutes when all the scuffle happened.

Women were pushed and pulled around by male policemen who were brutally aggressive. The scenario was a mockery of democracy with women and children crying out in terror. It must be mentioned here that the Police was even trying to convince the protestors that they shouldnt agitate against POSCO. There is no reason the Police should be judgemental about the issue. The police should not have treated peaceful protestors as criminals. The police should restrain itself before applying force on women and children.

A peaceful protest march and submission of a memorandum turned into a situation reminiscent of India freedom struggle thanks to the high handedness of the Police. Umakant (25) and Narahari (70) regained consciousness after 3-4 hours. Umakant was kicked repeatedly in the chest when he fell down during the scuffle. Eye witnesses will agree that the Police seemed to be on a personal motive in controlling the people. It seemed as if their eyes were thirsty for blood and everytime the cameras of media persons present moved away they would commit an act of violence. It was a shameful act and the icing was by the CM himself who as usual remained indifferent to the demands of the impoverished of Orissa.

On a personal note the Police tried to intimidate me and forbade me to take any pictures. The Police man or rather Police officer without a nameplate and any identification even remarked that I was 'exploiting the poor people' (??) and that he could read my 'nature from my face' (!!). Also he made up a story of how he has inside information that I was with the protestors right from Paradip. He tried to snatch my tapes and break my camera without much luck as I resisted it and shouted back. Fortunately he saw sense and didnt go all the way. Some other media persons later told me he is a DSP of the Crime branch though I have not verified this piece of information.

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