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Dec-08-2012 23:19printcommentsVideo

Steel Company POSCO Sends Thugs to Beat Indian Villagers

Update from India's POSCO opposition which continues to suffer unjust cruelty for refusing to give up private land.

Police attacking POSCO protest activities in 2010.
Police attacking POSCO protest activities in 2010.

(GOBINDPUR VILLAGE, Orissa) - POSCO (formerly Pohang Iron and Steel Company), from South Korea, is the world's fifth-largest steelmaker. POSCO struck a deal in In June 2005 with the State of Orissa in India, with plans to build a massive plant with four blast furnaces, an electricity plant, and housing for employees.

Police pushed and drug women away...

However, strong opposition from local residents has prevented the construction of the steel plant, amid allegations that federal and State governments have illegally taken lands and forests for the project, in violation of the Forest Rights Act.

A study undertaken by the Mining Zone Peoples' Solidarity Group, an international research group focused on India, finds evidence of irregularities in dealings with state, bureaucracy and judiciary and questions and debunks the social, economic and environmental claims that the project has made.

The move by POSCO to offer scholarship at India's most prestigious educational institutions is a sly move to gain sympathy and support of the academia.

The fact that they are funding the goons to beat up the villagers and bribe the police to file false cases against villagers is well known and they have been at it for at least four years.

POSCO management should note that local people do not want the project and leave the area. If they still persist, let them be warned that they will never be safe there.

Tim King, news editor for Salem-News, says Americans are wise to pay attention to this ongoing struggle.

"It may be on the other side of the world, but what is taking place in India is monumental because the resistance has been mostly successful, albeit with a high cost in human suffering. But they know they are going to suffer either way, and I presume it is worthwhile for these brave people to pay while resisting, than just becoming slaves to this massive multinational company that has no sensitivity to the fact that the land they seek to build upon belongs to someone else."

King says getting the news in front of western readers is vital since Indian governments are profiting from the existence of POSCO and all of the money it represents for the state and federal coffers.

"It is as though the government doesn't care at all. Look at this video from 2010, it is horrific, I felt like I was watching Charlie Company burn My Lai. They are dragging women away, the 'police' acting the role of thug for POSCO. India needs to pay close attention because this video proves everything the resistance has been saying all of these years. Also do not forget that this struggle is ongoing as Arun points out," King said.

Dear Friends,

We have been confronted with yet another pre-planned strategy of POSCO and its sponsored goons who were determined to threaten and humiliate our innocent villagers and almost forced us to give up our struggle against the forceful land acquisition by POSCO. On 5th December 2012, a few POSCO sponsored goons and villagers started to ring the bell to convene a village meeting in order to force us to extend our cooperation to start the land acquisition process. When our villagers opposed this undemocratic and uncalled for move, the sponsored goons started beating our people. Not surprisingly, the police have filed 12 more fabricated false cases against our people.

Out of desperation POSCO is following a divide and rule strategy in Gobindpur village. The Posco officials are trying to allure and divide our people by bribing the goons for acquiring the forest land adjacent to Gobindpur. However, our people are strongly determined to fight back and would not make it success at all.

As you know, in the course of our peaceful and democratic non-violent struggle to prevent our lands from being forcibly acquired by POSCO, our people have been brutally attacked by paid goons of the company and subjected to grueling economic blockades by the local administration. Several of our leaders have been put behind bars. False charges have been foisted on over 200 activists, both men and women.

On November 29, 2012, more than 3000 people had observed anti-violence day at Dhinkia village. You may remember that on November 29th of 2007, the state government has unleashed series of brutal repression against our people. Again the police has made repression on our people on May 15th 2010. We are attaching herewith the link of a video where the state police is burning the huts, beating and firing at the villagers.

On 30th November 2012, the anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare attended a farmer’s rally at Jagatsinghpur and condemned the state government's attempts to hand over 4,000 acre of land to the South Korean steel major POSCO. He said that "Instead of a policy to ensure the rights of farmers and make use of our natural resources, the government is busy appeasing and promoting foreign companies,". He also said that “problems faced by farmers cannot be solved by bringing foreign currency into India. Laws need to be changed for their betterment”.

In a desperate damage controlling mode, POSCO started to distribute the POSCO TJ Park Foundation Scholarship to 10 students of BPUT (Biju Patnaik University of Technology) and KIIT (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology) University on 27th November 2012. Besides, POSCO distribute fellowships at Delhi University, OUAT, Bhubaneswar and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi every year. Needless to say that this is an initiative to develop it’s goodwill among the intelligentsia and get sympathy from these institutions.

At this juncture, we strongly urge the students and faculties of the above esteemed institutions to discard this award. We also earnestly request these institutions to compel POSCO to respect the unanimous resolution on Dhinkia gram sabha ( Panchayat level assembly of adult members) i.e. on 18th of October 2012 , where more than 2000 people participated in the meeting and  refused to grant consent to the proposed diversion of land for POSCO under the rights provided to the Gram Sabha under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Kindly circulate this widely.

In Solidarity,

Prashant Paikary

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

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Blue Skin January 1, 2013 10:36 pm (Pacific time)

Amazing how these fools wish to remain in poverty. Let them suffer and let them blame themselves when drought comes and their families starve. This kind of FDI is the right sort of stimulus that can help a region move up from subsistence. But we must respect people's choice to screw themselves over. Perhaps their kids will be smarter.

Editor: The people aren't sellouts, you would not understand.  At least they have self-respect.

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