Dhinkia protests against Jindal goes on under severe repression

jindal steel dhinkia

Today’s media reports on our visit to Dhinkia do not quite tell the facts. Myself, Lingaraj and Sudarsan Pradhan had accompanied Medha Patkar to ascertain the reports on repression on people opposing the Jindal Steel and other projects in Dhinkia, near Paradip, Odisha. We met with Debendra Swain, people’s movement leader detained since 14 January in Kujang jail and then proceeded to meet his 85 year old mother in Dhinkia. On our way we found the road at Patna village blocked by about fifty men. They told us that they would not like outsiders to come and divide the villagers. They said that they welcomed the project, had got compensation for their betel vines and were promised jobs.

About five or six of them had the conversation with us . We asked about the reasons for which they had waged a successful resistance against POSCO. The discussion was polite and peaceful. We returned and met many people from the affected villages on the way. We learnt that arrests and harassment of people, demolition of vines and homes were going on. People opposing the project are unable to stay in the village, being constantly targeted by the police. While we were returning a message came that a woman had been arrested just then in the village. We saw no evidence for the claim that people as a whole supported the project. Lack of free access to the area has made it difficult to get a clear picture on the ground. Dhinkia is once again at the centre of the global development discourse.We need to undertake serious investigation into the issue of violation of human rights and environment laws.

Manoranjan Mohanty
University of Delhi (Retd.)
[email protected]

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