Anti-Posco activists protest leader’s arrest in Orissa

October 14th, 2008 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 14 (IANS) Hundreds of activists opposing the Posco steel plant Tuesday held a demonstration in Orissa’s capital Bhubaneswar to protest the arrest of their leader Sunday, the police said. Over five hundred activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Samrudha Odisha and other opposition parties took out a procession here holding placards and raised slogans against the state government.

“They also blocked a road here for over an hour,” a police official said.

The placards read “You cannot suppress anti-Posco movement”, “Orissa government down down”, “Release anti-Posco leader immediately”.

The police arrested Abhaya Kumar Sahu, who is spearheading a movement against Posco, Sunday evening.

According to the police, there are over 20 criminal cases pending against him. Sahu is also a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI).

Soon after hearing the news, hundreds of anti-Posco activists Monday blocked roads and staged protest in various parts of the Jagatsinghpur district.

“The government arrested Sahu on false charges. The government cannot suppress peoples’ agitation using force,” CPI state general secretary Dibakar Nayak told IANS.

Posco, the world’s fourth largest steel maker, signed a deal with the Orissa government in June 2005 to build a steel plant by 2016.

However, over 20,000 people from around 15 nearby villages have opposed the project, saying it would take away their homes and livelihood.

Posco says the plant would affect only 500 families but would create thousands of jobs.

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