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

At least two women protesters protested seminude. Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi confirmed the incident and said a case will be registered in this regard.

The Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti spokesperson Prashant Paikray however said none of their women activists had resorted to such an act.

Meanwhile, the Jagatsinghpur administration did not acquire any land on Thursday. In the last four days of the acquisition drive as many as 48 betel vines were felled in the outskirts of Gobindpur village.

The women members of the Sangram Samiti had on Wednesday threatened that they would resort to nude protests in case the administration continued to acquire land on Thursday by deploying armed policemen in the area.

The incident took place at around 2.30 p.m. when hundreds of men and women from Dhinkia and Patana villages came in a procession and staged a demonstration near the Mangalapada police camp at the entry point of Gobindpur.

Mr. Bhoi admitted that police resorted to lathi charge when the agitating villagers clashed with the police. He, however, claimed that around 10 villagers and two policemen were injured in the clash. The villagers staged the demonstration, defying the prohibitions that have been in force in the area ever since three anti-POSCO activists died at Patana on March 2.

Mr. Paikray, however, said more than 20 persons were injured in the police action and women activists were cornered and beaten up by many plain-clothes policewomen, he alleged.

The situation in the project area continues to remain tense since the March 2 incident. While police had claimed that the anti-POSCO activists were killed when they were preparing explosives, the Sangram Samiti had countered saying that the activists were killed by bombs hurled at them under the cover of darkness by some unidentified pro-POSCO men.

  • 20 persons injured in lathi charge on Thursday

  • Situation in the project area has been tense since March 2