At least 20 persons, most of them women, were injured in a police lathi charge when they were staging a demonstration in the Posco project area on Thursday demanding withdrawal of armed police from their locality.

At least two women protesters protested semi-nude. Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi said a case would be registered in this regard. Prashant Paikray, spokesperson of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, however, said none of its women activists had resorted to such an act.

Around 2.30 p.m., hundreds of men and women from Dhinkia and Patana villages came in procession and staged a demonstration near the Mangalapada police camp at the entry point of Gobindpur, where during the last four days as many as 48 betel vines and many trees had been felled in the land acquisition drive.

Mr. Bhoi admitted that the police resorted to lathi charge when the agitating villagers clashed with them. He said around 10 villagers and two policemen were injured in the clash. The villagers staged the demonstration, defying prohibitory orders that have been in force in the area ever since the killing of three anti-POSCO activists in a blast at Patana on March 2. Mr. Paikray, however, said more than 20 persons were injured in police action. Women activists were cornered and beaten up by plain-clothed policewomen, he alleged.

Keywords: anti-Posco stir