Anti-Posco movement leader’s son moves SHRC

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: Son of Abhaya Sahoo, president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) that was spearheading anti-land acquisition movement in Jagatsinghpur district, on Tuesday moved State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) demanding that his father be treated as a ‘political prisoner’.

After submitting a two-page petition with SHRC, Abhijit Sahoo said, “my father is member of CPI’s State Committee. He is involved in a movement, which is purely a democratic one. However, police are treating him like any petty criminal.”

It was unfortunate that he was handcuffed while being admitted in SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack, Abhijit said. “My father’s hands and legs were tied to the hospital bed. Even during administration of saline, he was not spared. His left hand was chained,” Abhijit alleged.

He alleged no family member was allowed to meet his father in hospital and everybody was subjected to verbal abuse by the police deployed to keep eye on him.

‘False’ cases

“Since my father belonged to one political party. Police were deliberately offending him in public. Dozens of false cases have been foisted against him,” Abhijit told reporters here.

A documentation of different cases, photographs showing Mr. Sahoo lying handcuffed on hospital bed and newspaper clippings covering discussions in State Assembly on his arrest and subsequent ‘torture’ were submitted to SHRC. “My father should be freed without preconditions. Similarly seven activists of PPSS, who were arrested at different point of time should also be treated with high esteem,” he said. Abhaya Sahoo has been involved in anti-land acquisition movement in Dhinkia, Gadakujanga and Nuagaon area of Jagatsinghpur district where South Korean steel major POSCO proposed to set up a mega steel mill.

Although a memorandum of understanding for this project was signed in 2005, the project did not progress following people’s protest. Due to vehement protest by Abhaya Sahoo-led PPSS, police were even finding it difficult to enter villages. The PPSS leader was arrested near port town of Paradip on Oct. 12 while he was returning from Hyderabad to Dhinkia. Abhijit said police had registered a total of 32 cases against his father.

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