More than 50 persons were injured when police opened fire and
teargas at the villagers staging a dharna opposing the Posco steel
project at Balitutha today. Police first fired teargas shells and set
on fire the tent under which the protestors were sitting on dharna
since January 26. The Police chased the people away from the dharna
About 1500 policemen were engaged in the operation. The villagers
supporting the steel project had also joined the police and hurdled
crude bombs at those sitting on dharna.
The police has arrested 5 women belonging to PPSS and took them to
Kujanga PS. The number of people injured in police action could be
much more than 50 as many injured persons had fled the spot and
returned to their villages.
After retreating from the dharna site, about 5000 villagers had
gathered at a distance of 200 meters away from the site. The policemen
were also present at a distance.
Congress ex-MLA of Balikuda Sri Umesh Swain on his way to Balithuta
has been detained at Kujanga police station.. MP Bibhu Tarai of the
CPI is detained and taken to Kujang circiut house. Spontaneous
protests happening in front of Paradeep, Erasama, Bhubanewar and
Kujanga police stations against the detentions.
Fresh violence was likely as the villagers opposing the steel project
were in no mood to allow police to enter the land selected for the
steel project of the South Korean company.
Nikunj Bhutia/ P.Paikray