Medha Patkar joins anti-Posco agitation

Medha Patkar joins anti-Posco agitation

Medha Patkar arrives at Bhubaneswar airport on Monday, to meet the anti-Posco protesters in Jagatsinghpur. PTI

After arriving here, Patkar drove straight to Dhinkia where the local villagers, including women and children, had been sitting on a dharna by creating a human barricade for the last few days to prevent the Jagatsinghpur district administration from entering the area to acquire land for the Rs 52,000 crore mega steel mill.

Talking to newspersons at the airport here, the Narmada Bachao Andolan leader said, a nationwide agitation would be launched if the Orissa government used force to acquire land for the South Korean company. “There should not be any land acquisition by suppressing the local villagers’ wish”, she said.

In view of the volatile situation, the Jagatsinghpur district administration refrained itself from any kind of land acquisition work on Monday. On Saturday, the administration had announced to begin the land acquisition process in Dhinkia from Monday if weather permitted.

In a separate development on Monday, the state women and child welfare minister, Anjali Behera, directed the Jagatsinghpur district administration to submit a report within 24 hours on the use of small children in the anti-Posco agitation.

“Children are being used in anti-Posco agitation which is highly condemnable. I have asked the district social welfare board officials to inquire into the matter and submit a report within 24 hours. Action will be initiated as per the law after submission of the report,” the minister said.

However, the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) which is spearheading the local villagers’ agitation has said that there was nothing wrong in the involvement of children in the mass movement.

 “How can you expect the children to sit at home when their parents are fighting against the government’s illegal move. They have come forward to protect their ancestral land from forceful acquisition”, said PPSS chief Abhya Sahu.

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