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14 May 2010

PUDR strongly condemns the reign of violence that the Orissa government has been unleashing on people’s movements protesting against the forcible acquisition of their land and forests for big industry.

On May 12 once again one tribal has been killed and several others injured at Kalinganagar in a police firing. The victims were activists of Bisthapan Birodhi Manch protesting against the proposed Tata Steel Project in the area.

Killing and injury to the alleged beneficiaries is obviously part of the government’s development policy. We apprehend further loss of people's lives from the meticulous preparations being made by the state administration for i mmediately targeting local people protesting forcible displacement by Posco. Twenty Five police platoons, together with 3 magistrates to legalize the firing, and five ambulances (to humanise it!) have gathered in Balitutha in Jagatsinghpur which forms the entry point to the Posco plant and has been the site of protests by the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti since January.

Orissa is a case study in how the state’s monopoly over violence is being used to flout laws on land acquisition with absolute impunity, to violate people’s democratic rights to life and livelihood, and to force a model of development down their throats that is pro- multinational and anti-poor. The Indian state is now blatantly using force to suppress all resistance, armed or unarmed. Legitimizing its war on armed resistance only further gives it the space to exercise violence no holds barred.

PUDR demands that:

1. Forces be immediately withdrawn from Balitutha .
2. An inquiry be expedited into the Kalinganagar firing. The responsible officials be punished and victims compensated.
3. People’s wishes concerning their livelihoods and resources be respected.
4. The Tata Steel and Posco projects be withdrawn immediately.

(Moushumi Basu , Ashis Gupta )

Secretaries, PUDR