New Delhi: Odisha Police has filed 230 cases against nearly 2000 villagers resisting the entry of POSCO in the state to set up a steel plant by "abusing" the criminal justice system, a report by two independent organisations claimed today.
The report titled 'Captive Democracy' that deals with the alleged police attrocities and how cases were being filed against locals protesting against setting up of the plant in Jagatsinghpur district, was released by CPI leader D Raja and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan.
"...About 230 cases had been filed implicating about 1500-2000 villagers resisting POSCO between 2006 and 2012. Most of the complaints have left the number of accused open-ended which allows the police to implicate any person in any case, despite not being specifically named," the report alleged.
It also asked the state government to withdraw all the criminal cases foisted on villagers and demanded that cases must be registered against perpetrators of violence against the protesters.
Releasing the report, Raja charged the BJD government in Odisha with "unleashing police" against the people and questioned the manner in which people's land is being "forcibly" taken away.
"It is the matter of their land. It is their land and they have the right to decide. The state government should not resort to violence and it should understand that violence will never succeed," he said.
Raja also alleged that revenue officials were also resorting to violence and said, "People's spirit will not die until their agitation ends."
Bhushan accused the Centre and the state government of being in collusion with multi-national companies to grab the land of the farmers.
"The government grabs the land of farmers. If they protest then they beat them up. Then the government says number of Maoists are increasing. Why will it not increase if police and state crush agitations?" he asked.
First Published: Friday, February 8, 2013, 18:26