A bomb explosion in a village within the proposed site for Korean steel maker Posco's $12 billion (Rs 54,000 crore) plant in Odisha's Jagatsinghpur district on Saturday claimed four lives.
All the four are activists of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), which has been spearheading a mass movement against the 12 million tonne per annum green field project.
The bomb exploded at 6.30pm in the backyard of a house in Patana village under Dhikia gram panchayat of the district, the nerve centre of anti-Posco movement about 200 km east of Bhubaneswar, killing Manas Jena (32) on the spot. Nabanu Mandal (32), Narahari Sahoo (52) and Laxman Parmanik (50) succumbed to their injuries within few hours as medical help could not reach the industrial conflict zone.
"The circumstances leading to the explosion is being probed," Jagatsingpur superintendent of police Satyabrata Bhoi told HT.
On the other hand, PPSS spokesperson Prasanta Paikray alleged goons of the enemies of anti-Posco movement threw the bomb to kill PPSS chief Abhay Sahoo who stayed in the house.
"Luckily, Sahoo was not home when the incident occurred," he said.
Paikray said the four core activists of PPSS were holding a meeting in the backyard of the house to evolve strategies to counter fresh land acquisition moves by the district administration for the proposed steel plant.
The administration had resumed acquisition in February but abruptly suspended it due to fierce protests from villagers.