Six non-Congress, non-BJP and non-BJD political parties and six other grassroot organizations opposed to proposed Posco steel project on Sunday called for state-wide protests on May 20 and May 21 in reaction to “police excesses” on anti-Posco activists in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa.
The decision to observe the protest day was taken at a meeting of the political parties including CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc, JMM, RJD and SJP at CPI’s state headquarters in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
“The police action has crossed all limits for a civil society,” said CPI’s state general secretary Dibakar Nayak.
The grassroot organizations however announced their plans for a state-wide road blockade on May 20 in protest against “state sponsored terror”. The organizations included Lok Shakti Abhiyan, SUCL, CPI (ML) New Democracy, CPI (ML) Liberation, CPI (ML) and Samajvadi Jan Parishad. “We will support the protest day call on May 21 given by the left and other parties,” said Prafulla Samantra of Lok Shakti Abhiyan.
CPI’s national general secretary A B Bardhan will address a protest rally on May 19 at Balitutha, which was cleared on Sunday by the police of the protesters sitting on a demonstration since January 26.
On Saturday police fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells at hundreds of activists protesting Posco’s plan to build a 12-billion dollar (Rs.55,200 crore) plant at Balitutha near the port town of Paradip, about 90 km east of Bhubaneswar.
At least 25 people, including five policemen, were injured in the clash between the police and protesters. Balitutha has now become a police camp. Section 144 has been clamped in a radius of 3 km.
An uneasy calm prevailed on Sunday at Balitutha, the entry point to the proposed Posco steel plant site which the police took control of after driving away the anti-Posco protesters.
Though Jagatsinghpur SP s. Devdutta Singh said the situation was under control, the situation at Balitutha and near by Dhinkia and Nuagaon villages remained tense. “Adequate police forces have been deployed to maintain law and order,” said Singh.