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Leaders of POSCO Resistance Dispatch Open Letter to Shareholders
Tim King Salem-News.com
Resistance hopes letter detailing serious concerns opens eyes of those funding the machine...
Govt forces, 14th Dec anti-POSCO protests. Photo: Sanhati.com
(SALEM / JAGATSINGHPUR) - As our writer in India Arun Shrivastava detailed in his report, POSCO... a can of rotting bankster-worms, the Korean firm, Pohang Iron and Steel Company or POSCO, is now the Trojan-horse of the western banking and financial cartel.
Victim in 14 Dec. anti-POSCO protest.
What should have been an organized, professional project, has become a loathsome issue and activists say the money from POSCO, a several billion dollar proposed investment over time, has stifled the good senses of officials with the Indian government, the state of Orissa civil administration, and the police.
These are the agencies that are directly ensuring that the company forcibly acquires people’s lands, and water and forest resources in blatant violation of Constitutional safeguards.
These property seizures according to legal experts, are specific violations of the Forest Rights Act. They are motivated by the project, officially launched in 2010, that represents a huge investment in the state of Orissa.
In fact if the hotly contested plan were to move forward, it would be the single largest foreign direct investment in India. Others say the project will only benefit POSCO and in fact displace more people than it employs. This, while severely damaging the environment and taking India's mineral resources at a very low price.
14 December Attacks on Protestors
Our visit was in the aftermath of the incidents of 14th December 2011, during which the peaceful protest against the construction of the coastal road connecting Paradip port to the proposed site of the POSCO steel plant, was viciously and unexpectedly attacked with country-made bombs by hired goons of the local contractor Bapi Circle, who is a known criminal with many pending cases in Odisha. In the process, many protesting villagers, including elderly women, were badly injured. One of the men hired by Bapi Circle was also killed by being accidentally hit with a bomb thrown by his own associates.
After this heinous incident, the state government has slapped false charges of murder (Sec 302 of the Indian Penal Code) against 11 key activists of the Posco Protirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), including some who were not even present at the time of the attack. Charges have also been brought against “150 other” unnamed villagers. - From: Attacks on Anti-POSCO Activists Surges
Arrests of Resistance Leaders
PPSS (Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti) leader Abhaya Sahoo and CPI Leader Mr. Narayan Reddy, a PPSS supporter, have been arrested under what advocates say are mostly false charges and have been put behind bars to systematically break down the peoples resistance.
The Government is using Section 302 of Indian Penal code on the charges of murder against the 11 key leaders of PPSS in connection to the 14th of December incident.
Despite the hardship and political resistance, the people said to be maintaining a high morale while continuing to resistance in the same spirit and vigour.
Now the leaders of the resistance are taking a new approach to the problem. The following is an open letter dispatched by Prashant Paikary, Spokesperson for POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (Anti-POSCO People’s Movement) in the district of Jagatsinghpur, in Odisha, India, who said, the Posco issue is about resource control, not industrialization, not development.
To the Shareholders of POSCO,
We are writing with deep concern about the POSCO steel mining project in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa which has already causes untold miseries and sufferings for all of us. Under the banner of POSCO Pratirodh Sangarm Samiti (PPSS), we have opposed this project for the last six years and have chosen peaceful, democratic forms of struggle to express our resistance to this project and our refusal to give up our lands and livelihoods for it mostly because we all believe that our resources fish, betel leaves and rice will not only feed us but will also feed all our generations to come.
The project was granted a forest clearance despite violation of Indian laws and rules. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) constituted three committees i.e the Saxena Committee, the Meena Gupta Committee and the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC). These committees have recommended the withdrawal of the forest and environmental clearances. Also, we have carried out procedures according to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA). There has always been an attempt to make a very convenient reading of all recommendations of the successive committees to suit the interests of POSCO. Therefore, the government still pushed forward with the project, ignoring the villagers’ rights. The Orissa government as well as POSCO have rather been contravening the Forest Rights Act 2006, violating human rights and creating environmental destruction.
To halt the project, around 2000 villagers have been democratically protesting against the work done forcibly on coastal road. Most shockingly, on 14th December 2011, the peaceful protestors were attacked by a mob of 500 people, allegedly sent by Paradeep Paribahan, a company contracted by POSCO. We request strongly to condemn the government's violent and partial attitude, pointing out the police firing and violence against peaceful protesters.
Therefore, we urge you to ask POSCO-India to immediately withdraw from the proposed project for the greater benefit of the people and environment. Intimidation, such as the attack on 14th December 2011, should be stopped and the people be rightfully protected. We know you have pure business and profit interest but would you all like them to happen at the cost of our right to life, livelihood, good environment, ecology and above a peaceful and dignified life.
POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti ( Anti-POSCO People’s Movement)
Phone no 09437571547
Children involved in the anti-POSCO protests that were held 14 Dec. 2011
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.
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