Eight police personnel were detained by anti-Posco activists for three hours on Saturday, after a jeep carrying them entered Patana village under Dhinkia panchayat.
Dhinkia, about 200 km east of Bhubaneswar, is the stronghold of the movement against the proposed R52,000-crore Posco steel plant.
Following the Union environment ministry’s final forest clearance on May 2, the land acquisition for the proposed steel plant has resumed from May 18.
The people of villages under Dhinkia, Gadakujanga and Nuagaon gram panchayats have been opposing the plant under the leadership of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Committee (PPSS), the group spearheading the anti-Posco agitation.
Abhaya Sahu, president PPSS claimed that it was agreed at a meeting between chief minister Naveen Patnaik and PPSS leaders last year that police force would not venture into Dhinkia area.
Police said the jeep was stopped by villagers, mostly women, as it entered Patana, where a public meeting was being organised by the PPSS. “However, no harm was caused to them. They were released after some time,” Jagatsinghpur SP S Devdutta Singh told HT.
While Singh said that the policemen had gone to Paradip on some other work and strayed into the area as the driver was new, Sahu maintained that the police party had entered Dhinkia intentionally.
“The home secretary should give an explanation why the police entered when a public meeting was being organised to oppose Posco’s land acquisition,” he said.