The PPSS invites you to join the ‘Black Day’ on June 22nd, 2013, the 8th anniversary of the day when the (now expired) MoU between the Government of Orissa and POSCO was signed at the behest of the Manmohan Singh government. Over these last 8 years, the people of Jagatsinghpur have used every method of democratic dissent – petitions, demonstrations, rallies, strikes, and pickets-to assert their opposition to the POSCO project and their constitutional rights to defend their life, livelihood resources and habitat. In response, the government of Orissa has used every weapon in its arsenal to suppress the movement and crush our opposition.
The police are permanently camped now in our villages and patrol the streets 24×7, monitoring our movements and stopping us from exercising our basic democratic rights including our right to assembly. They have not hesitated to use force and practice equality only in this respect that they beat up men and women with equal brutality. Even as we fight this project whose “benefits” include the production of 50,000 unemployed persons and 24,000 homeless persons, we have seen that the repression has already produced orphans and widows including the families of Narahari Sahoo, Tarun Mandal and Manas Jena who were killed by bomb attack on March 2, 2013. And of course Dula Mandal, who was killed earlier.
The District Collectors and Superintendent of Polices are used as security guards and clerks of the company. One such guard Mr. Satya Kumar Mallick who is District Collector now has been actively supporting the digging of a trench and the construction of a boundary wall between Gobindpur and Dhinkia although the project approval is under suspension, the environmental clearances and the memorandum of understanding have all expired, and over 60 trees have been felled in direct violation of the mandate of the National Green Tribunal. Now, contempt petition against the company and the state has been filed by the original petitioner as NGT order has been ignored, rather violated.
On May 11,2013, one of the leaders of the movement, Mr. Abhay Sahoo, was arrested for the third time under fabricated charges. Hundreds of such fabricated cases have been filed against the people of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujung such that they are captives in their own villages for the last 8 years, and cannot venture out for practicing their occupations, for their children’s education or even for acutely needed medical care.
We invite you to commemorate this sacrifice, and celebrate the courage of our people who are not willing to give up in the face of great oppression. Although we are fighting for our land and for our livelihoods, it has become very clear to us that we are now fighting for Democracy itself. We take courage from all the various movements and groups from around the world that continue to support us and for whom, in turn, we have come to represent the struggle for democracy. We call for all people’s movements and organizations, political parties, activists, intellectuals and people at large to commemorate our struggle and challenge the POSCO initiated and state supported initiatives of demolishing democracy.
Kindly circulate this mail widely.
Hoping for solidarity,
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
E-Mail – firstname.lastname@example.org