Sharmili Mallick

Following the alleged police brutality on the residents of Dhinkia village under Erasama block in Jagatsinghpur district during the latter’s protest on January 14, several serious allegations have been levelled against the concerned police and district administrations.

Babu Samal, a betel farmer of Dhinkia has alleged that his daughter was brutally assaulted by the cops during lathi-charge last Friday due to which she has become bed-ridden.

As the police and district administrations have razed the betel vines, I have lost my source of earning and have not enough money for my daughter's treatment, Samal alleged.

“The police have brutally assaulted my 16-year-old daughter last Friday. I used to earn a livelihood through the betel vineyard and now I don’t have a penny for the treatment for my daughter. I don’t know what will I do,” said Samal.

Meanwhile, the members of BJP Yuva Morcha of Jagatsinghpur district met the villagers of Dhinkia.

Manas Mohapatra, President of BJP Jagatsinghpur district Yuva Morcha warned, “We are not against welfare projects but we will not allow the project to come up on the bodies of Dhinkia villagers. I want to convey to the State Government that from now on if any of the residents of Dhinkia is beaten up, each member of the BJP Yuva Morcha will reach to protect the family of the victims.”

Meanwhile, it is being alleged that the police personnel have demolished the betel vines of one Gautam Das, a leader of the anti-steel plant movement in the village without his consent.

Das’ brother-in-law has alleged that while the former and his family members were away in the jungle in fear of getting arrested by the police, the district administration demolished his betel vineyard in Patana village.

“My brother-in-law and his parents were not present at the house. My sister was at my house. With whose permission their betel vineyard was demolished. The district administration claims that the betel vineyards were being demolished after getting the permission of the landowners. I challenged them to show documents or papers which allows the administration to raze their plantation,” decried Bijay Sahani, a resident of nearby Nuagaon village.

Pragyananda Dash, Erasama Tehsildar assured, “The people who are complaining, ask them to contact me. I will redress their grievances.”

It may be noted that for the past two months, the residents of Dhinkia village have been resisting the transfer of over 1,173.58 hectares of land. The land is being acquired for Rs 65,000 crore for the setting up of a 13.2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) integrated steel plant, a 900 MW captive power plant and a 10 MTPA cement grinding and mixing unit by Jindal Steel Works.

Opposing the demolition of betel vines in Dhinkia, Mahal and Patana villages in Erasama block by the administration for the proposed JSW project, hundreds of villagers took out rallies on Friday. However, they were stopped by police at Dhinkia. When the agitators resisted, police resorted to baton charge.