UPDATE, 2nd April: PPSS Plans a Hunger Strike

protest image 2 copyFrom 22nd March 2013 onwards, more than 200 women of Govindpur village have been continuing their daily peaceful protest opposing the undemocratic moves of the government and POSCO in the village of Gobindpur in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha. The leader at PPSS have decided to call a hunger strike on 3rd April 2013 if their demands for police removal are not met. Addressing the villagers, an anti-POSCO leader Ms Manorama Khatua asked the people to any measures necessary to stop the project on their fertile land. She said that the women would henceforth guard the entry gate to Dhinkia area with their male counterparts to ensure no more betel vines plantations are destroyed. Meanwhile, the villagers re-erected bamboo and wooden barricades at Gobindpur, Patana, Dhinkia and Trilochanpur villages under Jagatsinghpur's Dhinkia gram panchayat to prevent officials and police from entering the proposed POSCO plant site. The presence of policemen has been a cause of tension for women and girls at Gobindpur village. As they are at the forefront of the movement, regular lathi-charge on women and children by paramilitary has become a norm. Despite the administration's declaration that land acquisition would not happen ‘by coercion’, this region has become a site littered with paramilitary camps with more than 12 paramilitary platoons. Their constant presence inside the villages is worrisome and unacceptable in a democratic polity. A large number of people suffering from ailments are unable to visit doctors and nearest markets. "To restore faith of its citizenry in Dhinkia and Govindpur villages and beyond, the state government must admit its excesses in the area.We have also decided to launch hunger-strike from April 3, 2013 if it is not done. We call upon all political parties, social activists, intellectuals, and public concerned citizens, leaders to participate in the proposed hunger-strike," says PPSS leader Prashant Paikaray.

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