D Raja demands complete withdrawal of force

Paradip: CPI National Secretary and MP D Raja on Thursday led a demonstration by anti-Posco agitators, mostly children and women, near here demanding complete withdrawal of police force from the proposed plant site areas in Jagatsinghpur district.

Raja, who flayed "midnight entry by the police" into Gobindpur village in a bid to facilitate acquiring of land for the Rs 52,000 crore mega steel project of the South Korean major, led the demonstration as it neared Gobindpur-Mangala Chhak where police set up a temporary camp.

"Though the district administration yesterday announced withdrawal of force from Posco's proposed plant site area, the personnel are still lodged at the temporary camp here," Raja told the gathering of anti-displacement activists.

Jagatsinghpur SP Satyabrata Bhoi, however, maintained the police force had to rush to the temporary camp today after getting information about the rally.

A large number of activists from CPI, CPI (M), Forward Bloc, Samajwadi Party, RJD and members from different NGOs also participated in the demonstration. The supporters and activists of opposition Congress and BJP also joined the gherao agitation lead by Raja.

"We will continue the stir till the police force is completely withdrawn," Raja said, adding normalcy cannot return to the proposed plant site unless the force was taken back.

Meanwhile, all the schools in Dhinkia and Gobindpur villages remained empty for the fifth consecutive day as children took part in the stir.

Social activist Swami Agnivesh was scheduled to visit Gobindpur village tomorrow to express solidarity with the agitating people.

The CPI-backed Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) leader Abhay Sahu's fast also entered the third day today. "I will continue fast till complete withdrawal of force from the area," Sahu said raising question on the legal status of the land acquisition for a foreign company sans "a valid MoU."

The state, which began land acquisition for Posco on Sunday, announced halt yesterday in view of the prevailing law and order situation.