The demand for immediate release of Abhay Sahu, leader of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, gained momentum with senior leaders of the Communist Party of India addressing a public meeting in the Dhinkia area of Jagatsinghpur district on Monday.

The leaders, including party's national general secretary A.B. Bardhan, Central Committee Member D. Raja and senior leader Narayan Reddy, addressed the gathering at Patana Haat in Dhinkia gram panchayat demanding that Mr. Sahu be released without delay.

‘To weaken democratic movement'

They alleged that the arrest was an attempt on the part of the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha to weaken “the democratic movement” by the villagers of the three gram panchayats of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang to save their land and livelihood sources from being acquired for the proposed steel plant of Posco.

Reiterating their demand that the State government shift the project site to any other location, the leaders also opposed the State government's move to construct an approach road along the coastline to connect the port town of Paradip with the site selected for the proposed steel mill.

In Bhubaneswar, a protest demonstration was also organised at the Master Canteen Square by a large group of leaders of several Left parties, social activists and representatives of various mass organisations demanding the unconditional release of Mr. Sahu.

Mr. Sahu, who has been spearheading the agitation demanding shifting of the site selected for the proposed steel plant of Posco from Dhinkia area near Paradip since 2005, was arrested on November 25.