Orissa: Tribals Step Up Campaign against Construction of Tata Steel Plant
Posted by Ka Frank on January 21, 2010
This article was posted on Indian Vanguard on January 20, 2010.
Tribals clash with police at Kalinga Nagar
Jajpur, Orissa: Angry tribals today clashed with the police near Rohit Ferrotech plant in Kalinga Nagar industrial complex area in Jajpur district to protest against the construction of a new road, officials said. Two persons were detained by police in this connection and they were being interrogated, they added.
The trouble began when about 500 tribals in their traditional attire and weapons, including women and children, gathered at Baligotha under Kalinga Nagar police station limits to prevent resumption of road work, stalled since January 16 following their protest. The police had to fire about 300 rubber bullets and blank firing in the air to disperse the tribals, the sources said.
In retaliation, the protesters, said to be the supporters of Visthapan Virodhi Janamanch (VVJ), pelted stones and mounted arrow attack on policemen deployed in the area. However, six tribals sustained minor injuries in the brief clash, sources said.
Thirteen platoons of armed police personnel have been deployed in the area to prevent further flare up. “We are constructing Common Corridor Road (CCR) while some people opposed us, leading to the clash,” said Kalinga Nagar Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Ranjit Keshari Mohanty. We have been requesting the protestors to receive their land related dues if any left with the Government. But, they are not paying any heed to our requests, he said.
Construction work of CCR, being carried out by the state owned company IDCO, had been stopped following protest by tribals, officials said adding the corridor would connect Military Road and Express highway. “Though tension prevails in the area, the situation is under control,” Jajpur Superintendent of Police D.S. Kuttey said. Both Jajpur SP and Kalinga Nagar ADM with 13 platoons of armed police personnel have been camping at the site.
The Janamanch, which has been opposing the industrialisation in the area, alleged that the authorities were trying to construct the road forcibly on his personal land. “The administration at the behest of Tata Steel company is forcibly constructing road over our private lands. We will oppose this illegal and forcibly construction tooth and nail,” said Rabindra Jarika, Secretary of the Janamanch. “We will not be displaced and also not allow any displacement in the area,” Jarika added.
The Janamanch has been opposing the industrialisation in the area since Jan 2, 2006 police firing incident in which 14 tribals were killed and many were injured when police opened fire on hundreds of tribals who were opposing forcible construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steel for their proposed six-million-tonne steel plant project.