Tribals protest activist’s murder in Orissa’s industrial hub

May 3rd, 2008 - 11:50 am ICT by admin  

Bhubaneswar, May 3 (IANS) Police have been deployed in Orissa’s leading industrial hub in Jajpur district after hundreds of tribals blocked a road to protest the killing of an activist of the Visthapan Virodhi Jana Manch (VVJM), an anti land acquisition group. Arabinda Singh, a contractor, allegedly shot dead Amin Banara Thursday in the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex, about 120 km from here, police said.

VVJM leader Rabindra Jarika told IANS that Singh, who hails from Jharkhand, is known for his links with Tata Steel, the company which is setting up a six million tonne per annum integrated steel plant in the complex.

VVJM is an umbrella outfit of tribal organisations that are campaigning against the proposed Tata plant.

Singh allegedly asked Banara to stay away from anti land acquisition activities. When he refused to pay heed, the contractor along with three others shot him, Jarika alleged.

Soon after the murder, hundreds of tribals gathered at the site and blocked the nearby Daitari-Paradeep expressway. The protesters put up barricades of wooden logs and stones on the road.

Police have arrested two people, including Singh, a district police official said.

“We will nab the other two accused soon. We are persuading the tribals to end the blockade,” the police official added.

On Jan 2, 2006, at least 14 people, including 13 tribesmen, died and many were injured when police opened fired on hundreds of tribal agitators in the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex.

The tribals had clashed with police to protest against the construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steel. They had blocked the nearby highway for more than a year since the day of the firing and lifted it following an order by the Orissa High Court.

Kalinga Nagar is a 12,000-acre complex where several companies propose to set up projects. The complex has about 10 industrial units and steel plants. Eight of them have already started production.

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