The anti-Posco agitation took a violent turn on Sunday when nearly 100 activists led by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar broke the security cordon and tried to force their way into Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's residence.
The hunger strike against the South Korean steel firm has been on since the last three weeks here. Patkar met the agitators on Saturday and extended her support to their demand for a debate with the government on the Posco project.
On Sunday, the police stopped the protestors when they marched towards Patnaik’s residence and in the ensuing scuffle four people injured. At least 51 activists, barring Patkar and Dr BD Sharma, the national convenor of Bharat Jan Andolan, were arrested. Patkar and Sharma sat in a dharna in front of the CM's residence for two hours. They turned down all invitations to meet Patnaik till the arrested activists were set free.
"It's a matter of shame that the chief minister is avoiding discussion with the fasting agitators. This reveals the government's intention to sell the rich mineral resources of the state to multinational companies for selfish interests," Patkar said.
While receiving a memorandum submitted by Patkar through the Khurda district collector, the CM said the families likely to be displaced by the Posco project “will get appropriate compensation and rehabilitation”.