Anti-Posco group takes 8 cops hostage, frees them later

Eight police personnel were held hostage by a group of villagers opposing the Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel plant for nearly five hours before being set free in Orissa`s Jagatsinghpur district.

Last Updated: May 28, 2011, 18:47 PM IST

Paradip (Orissa): Eight police personnel
were held hostage by a group of villagers opposing the Rs
52,000 crore Posco steel plant for nearly five hours on Saturday before being set free in Orissa`s Jagatsinghpur district.

Seven policemen and the driver of police jeep which
entered Patana village in Dhinkia panchayat were stopped by
villagers, mostly women and were held captive, Additional
Superintendent of Police Shantanu Das told reporters.

The policemen and the driver were allowed to go after
they convinced the villagers that they were not associated
with the land acquisition for the steel project, he said.
The eight were not harmed, he said.

Leaders of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS),
spearheading the anti-Posco agitation for the last six
years, said since the policemen had nothing to do with land
acquisition they were released.

Earlier, President of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram
Committee (PPSS) Abhaya Sahu said the policemen should not
have entered Dhinkia area.

He claimed it was agreed at a meeting between Chief
Minister Naveen Patnaik and PPSS leaders last year that police
would not enter the Dhinkia area.
Meanwhile, land acquisition work for the Posco project
progressed smoothly in Noliasahi, Polanga and Bayanala areas
where around 32 betel plantations were acquired and over Rs 38
lakh handed over as compensation to land-losers, official
sources said.

The Home secretary should give an explanation as to
why police force entered Dhinkia panchayat area when PPSS
activists were busy organising the meeting, Sahu said.

"We must know as to with whose permission the
policemen entered into the area," he said.

The PPSS activists were gathering for a rally in
nearby Gobindpur village when the incident took place, police
said.

Meanwhile, land acquisition for the mega steel project
progressed smoothly in neighbouring Bayanala and Noliasahi
areas with around 22 betel plantations being acquired by the
officials, official sources said.

PTI