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Posco officials freed after six-hr captivity

The S Korean steel major warns of an 'adverse impact' on foreign investments after four of its officials were abducted from a village, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2007 00:55 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Hindustan Times

Four officials of South Korea steel major Posco were taken hostage on Saturday by activists at Dhinkia who are opposed to the company’s Rs 52,000 crore project. They were released unharmed after six hours.

The officials — three Korean, KS Choi, SH Nam and TJ Ahn, and an Indian, Deepak Ojha — were inspecting the project site of an electrical tower.

As they entered the IOC area, 50 armed villagers accosted them and took the four to the Dhinkia panchayat along with their driver and car. They were detained in the Phulakhai temple and released after a talk between the villagers and local police.

“They came to Dhinkia panchayat at 10am despite our warnings to Posco not to enter the area for any work related to the steel plant. After the police gave us in writing that the Posco officials would not enter our area again, they were released,” said Abhaya Sahu, the chairman of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

According to Sahu, the officials came without informing the district administration.

Posco-India condemned the incident saying: “We are deeply concerned about the safety and security of our officials. This sort of activity will de-motivate the investors and have adverse impact on foreign investments, which will not be in the larger interest of the people and the state.”

Dhinkia panchayat remains the nerve centre of the activists. In May, too, three Posco officials had been abducted and were released after seven hours.

First Published: Oct 13, 2007 23:40 IST