A number of civil society leaders, veteran social activists of Orissa, along with the former Union Steel Minister Braja Kishore Tripathy, on Tuesday condemned the March 30 police action against tribals in this upcoming steel hub in Orissa's Jajpur district.

They demanded that the Naveen Patnaik government give up its pro-industry approach.

According to them the State government was favouring the companies at the cost of people's land and livelihood sources.

They were participating in a dharna outside the Additional District Magistrate's office at Vyasanagar, the small town officially described as the gateway to Kalinganagar.

All those who addressed the gathering demanded that the Biju Janata Dal government headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stop using the police to acquire land for industrial projects. Tribals and farmers not willing to hand over their land for industries were being harassed, they alleged.

Police lathi-charged the residents of many tribal hamlets in Kalinganagar on March 30, when they staged a protest against the construction of a common corridor road near the site earmarked for a proposed plant of Tata Steel.

Mr. Tripathy demanded that the ruling BJD “stop using its workers and supporters” to facilitate the construction of the common corridor road and the Tata Steel project.

State Bharatiya Janata Party president Jual Oram and many leaders and workers of his party were on Monday prevented from visiting the tribal villages the police had entered on March 30. Those who prevented the BJP group included people living in rehabilitation camps set up by Tata Steel, and supporters of a prominent ruling party leader.

Speakers at the dharna also condemned the attack on journalists by pro-industry supporters on Monday.

They were taking photographs of BJP leaders being roughed up by the pro-industry people.

In a memorandum to Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare, submitted through the ADM of Kalinganagar, the activists sought immediate transfer of the District Collector and Superintendent of Police and relief for those injured in the police raid.

They also demanded that the government resume dialogue with the Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch, the organisation spearheading the anti-displacement agitation in Kalinganagar, since 14 persons were killed on January 2, 2006 in police firing while opposing the Tata Steel project.