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Pradeep Pattanayak

The Orissa High Court on Wednesday directed the five-member court-appointed committee, which had earlier visited the violence-hit Dhinkia village in Jagatsinghpur district to probe allegations of police atrocities, to conduct public hearing in the village. 

As per an earlier direction of the HC, the committee, comprising lawyers, had visited Dhinkia which was on the boil in January after police baton charged betel farmers who protested a drive to evict betel vineyards to pave way for the proposed JSW steel plant. 

On Wednesday, the committee members submitted their reports separately with the HC. 

However, in order to get a clearer picture of the ground situation in Dhinkia and in the nearby areas, the State’s top court once again directed the committee to visit the troubled village once again on March 5. 

This time, the HC has asked the committee to conduct public hearing in the village. At the same time, the HC has directed the district Collector, SP to make all necessary arrangements required to hold the hearing. 

The Collector and SP have also been directed to ensure that the hearing should complete without any untoward incidents. They have also been directed to see to it that the sides-supporting and opposing the plant should participate and share their views without any fear. 

The committee will submit its report three days after visit. 

The date for the next hearing on the petition has been fixed on March 11.

As per reports, earlier on Saturday, clashes broke out between the supporters and protesters of the proposed steel plant during the visit by the committee to Dhinkia village in which five people, including two women and a child, were injured.

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