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Rashmi Rekha Das

Renowned social activist Medha Patkar was not allowed to meet the family of Debendra Swain, former panchayat member who was leading a campaign against JSW’s proposed steel plant in Dhinkia.

Medha met Debendra at Kujanga sub-jail following which she left for Dhinkia to meet Debndra’s family when supporters of JSW project objected her.

She said, “Debendra has been booked on wrong charges. Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code talks about attempt to murder. This section is imposed on every protestor while mafias are left free and given respect.  Everyone should raise their voice against this injustice.”

Notably,  the protest against the project took a violent turn after 12 platoons of Odisha police cracked down on hundreds of people resulting in injury to over 20 including women and children on January 14. Following two separate PILs, the Odisha High Court had directed the state government to submit a status report on the situation by the month-end.

Besides, the Court had constituted the lawyers’ panel while hearing three PILs that had sought protection of human rights of people protesting against the proposed steel plant in Dhinkia.

The Court had ordered the Jagatsinghpur district administration to make all necessary arrangements so that people of the Panchayat could express their views on JSW project to the committee without any fear and pressure.

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