A large group of BJP leaders expresses support to agitating villagers

Even as the Orissa government was set to resume land acquisition for the controversial Posco steel project in Jagatsinghpur district on Monday, political support for the anti-Posco agitation further grew on Sunday with a large group of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders visiting Gobindpur and other villages in Jagatsinghpur to express their support for the agitating villagers.

The agitators, opposing the project under the banner of ‘Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti,' have been in an upbeat mood during the past few days with leaders of various political parties and prominent social activists from different parts of the country visiting their villages to express their solidarity and oppose land acquisition for the project.

About 30 BJP leaders, led by former Minister Bimbadhar Kuanr, interacted with the Samiti activists and condemned the State government's efforts to acquire land by using force. “If the State government does not hold talks with the villagers the party would take the matter up to Parliament,” they said.

Medha to visit today

Many social activists, including Medha Patkar and Banwari Lal Sharma of Azadi Bachao Andolan, were scheduled to visit Gobindpur and other villages on Monday, while CPI(M) MP Gurudas Dasgputa and CPI(M) MP Basudev Acharia were likely to visit the area on Tuesday.

The Samiti has also announced to observe June 22 (Wednesday) as Black Day to reiterate its opposition to the Posco project. It was on June 22, 2005 that the State government had signed the memorandum of understanding for the project.

In another development, a number of mass organisations of the State staged a demonstration in Bhubaneswar in protest against forceful land acquisition for the project.

Human barricade

Meanwhile, the Samiti members also stuck to their stand that they would continue with their three-tier human barricade with children at the front followed by women and men to block the entry of land acquisition officials and police to demolish their betel vineyards to acquire land for the project.

“What would the children do when their parents and other adult members in their families had to guard the entry points to their village to prevent forceful land acquisition for the Posco,” asked a spokesperson of the Samiti.

He was reacting to the statement of State Women and Child Development Minister Anjali Behera that children should not be used in the agitation.