Paradip: CPI leader and MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai was arrested on Saturday while trying to enter the proposed steel plant site of Posco-India ahead of an anti-project rally.
"Tarai was arrested as a preventive measure to avoid
any law and order problem as a large number of anti-project
activists have gathered in the area," Superintendent of Police
Jagatsinghpur Devdutta Singh said.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC has
been imposed around Balitutha, entry point to the proposed
plant site where anti-Posco activists have been staging a
dharna, he said adding, the police personnel in strength have
been deployed in the area.
About 1500 police have been mobilised as part of
Orissa government`s efforts to begin forest survey and land
acquisition in the plant site, police said.
Terming his arrest as "undemocratic", Tarai said he
was proceeding to learn about people`s problem area which
falls under his constituency, Jagatsinghpur.
As unrest brewed in the area following Tarai`s arrest,
CPI state secretary Dibakar Nayaka accused the administration
and police of acting in "undemocratic and arbitrary" manner to
suppress people`s voicice. He said CPI would launch a vigorous
state-wide agitation against it.
Seeking withdrawal of force from Balitutha, CPI-backed
Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) continued its dharna
since January 26 and planned a rally to he addresssed by CPI
leader AB Bardhan on May 19.
The CPI state secretary said PPSS activists have been
agitating and holding dharna at Balitutha in a peaceful manner
but the government planned to remove them by applying force.
A PPSS leader said the Samiti activists had drawn a
"laxman rekha" at Balitutha prevent police and government
officials from enterning into the area as the local residents
were against setting up of any industry which would displace
them and snatch away their source of livelihood.
Taking a serious view of the method adopted by PPSS, a
senior district official said it was highly inappropriate to
obstruct and prevent government officials from discharging
their duties and responsibilities.
It is necessary to clear the area and efforts would be
made to persuade and convince the activists to end their
dharna peacfully, he said.
Apart from mobilising 1500 policemen, includign armed
forces, the district administration had also moved some
ambulances and fire tenders at Balitutha keeping in view
possible disturbance in the area.