UPDATE, 7th February: Government Halts Land Acquisition in Jagatsinghpur

The government of Odisha has temporarily halted the land acquisition drive in Dhinkia Panchayat however there are still 2 platoons of police present. We urge the supporters to keep the pressure on the government to ensure that there is no further attempt to forcefully evict people from their lands. In the past, police have retracted forces from the villages when there is national and international pressure but later resumed the land grabbing drive. The human rights defenders from Jagatsingpur who have been arrested and charged with false cases continue to be in prison or fear being arrested. Human Rights Activist Debendra Swain, who was arrested during 3rd February’s police attack has been taken to Kujang prison. Below is a video from Samadrusti Televisions which captures the events of 3rd February and the Debendra's arrest.   We urge you to call the Deputy General of Police, Odisha, Prakash Mishra on 0671-2304834 and pressurise him to release Debendra Swain. Also ask him to drop the false charges filed against the other 230 individuals and several leaders of the anti- POSCO movement. You can also sign the petition started by Front Line Defenders, an International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders which has taken action in support of Debendra Swain and responded to the recent arrests and repression of protest in Jagatsinghpur. Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Rangadhar Mohapatra visited Dhinkia and Gobindpur to record statements from the residents. These statements are from those who stood head to head with the police on the morning of 3rd February.   Debendra's brother Suresh Chandra is not disheartened by Debendra's arrest. "My brother didn't steal or lie. He was fighting for his motherland," he says. Dhruba Charan Swain dismisses the illusion of a peaceful land acquisition being created by the police and Posco. "If they are acquiring the land peacefully, why is the police here?" he says.
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