Arrested anti-Posco protests leader being humiliated, alleges son

December 24th, 2008 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 24 (IANS) Abhaya Sahu, who was leading protests against the Posco steel plant in Orissa until his arrest in October, is being ill-treated by police, his son alleged Wednesday while demanding a probe by the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). In a petition submitted to the SHRC, Abhijit Sahu said his father was being subjected to mental torture and humiliation by police.

“He is being treated like a criminal by police. He is taken to the doctor with handcuffs, which is inhuman and causes severe humiliation to him,” Abhijit said in the petition.

Abhaya Sahu is chairman of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), one of the frontal organisations against a proposed project by South Korean steel major Posco in Orissa. He was arrested Oct 12.

Abhijit urged the rights body to declare his father a political prisoner and ensure all the facilities accorded to one.

“My father suffers from asthma, rheumatism, high blood pressure and diabetes,” Abhijit told IANS.

Posco plans to build a $12-billion steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district in one of the largest foreign direct investments in India.

The world’s fourth largest steel maker signed a deal with the state government in June 2005 to build the plant by 2016 near Paradeep port, some 100 km from the state capital Bhubhaneswar.

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

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

Police say the charges against Sahu include rioting, violence, attacking people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, kidnapping, attempt to kill people and possession of illegal weapons.

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