posco_protests_295Kujang, June 28: High drama was witnessed after two persons of Gobindpur village at the proposed Posco site near here in Jagatsinghpur district made suicide attempts protesting use of force by the administration in taking possession of their betel vines in Gobindpur reserve forest area Friday. The administration along with police force, however, had to beat a hasty retreat following the development. The villagers who attempted to commit suicide were identified as Babuli Mohanty and Rabindra Baral of the village. The villagers were taken unaware after the land acquisition squad accompanied by police, IDCO and Posco officials entered Gobindpur reserve forest area in early morning and pulled down the betel vines at their will.
After reports surfaced, hundred of villagers assembled at the place and protested the whimsical demolition of their betel vines by the administration. The police jawans, who were present at the spot suddenly, wielded their sticks and beat up the villagers including women black and blue. At least 21 persons were injured in the incident. However, the injured villagers, fearing arrest, did not go outside of their panchayat limits and instead received treatment privately. Sources said the district administration despite informing the newspersons on resuming the drive after the end of Rath Yatra or Bahuda Yatra surprisingly entered Posco site in morning along with 1,000 policemen and started demolishing the vines. The villagers, who were at ease after the administration’s assurance, were taken aback and rushed to the site to protest against the illegal drive. As they reached the site and started protesting lathi-wielding policemen beat them up mercilessly. All their appeals to spare their betel vines when the betel rate is at its peak, fell on deaf ears as the officials went on razing them one after another. Even they did not allowed the villagers to take back their motor pumps, polythene sheets and other tools.


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