Captive Democracy- Abuse of criminal system to curb dissent against the POSCO steel plant in Odisha
A Fact-finding team was formed in December 2012 to look into the abuse of the criminal system and filing false cases to curb dissent against the POSCO steel plant in Orissa. The Team’s observations and analysis are presented in their report- “Captive Democracy” which is to be released by Member of Parliament and CPI National Secretary Shri. D. Raja, Senior Lawyer of Supreme Court and Social Activist Adv. Prashant Bhushan and Senior Academician Institute of Chinese Studies and the Council for Social Development, New Delhi Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty. You are invited for the release of the report “Captive Democracy- the abuse of the criminal system to curb dissent against the POSCO steel plant in Orissa” and a short video presentation on the ‘Ongoing Police violence at POSCO affected villages’ presiding the release. The struggle in Dhinkia and nearby villages against the POSCO project continues despite all attempts of the State Government to muzzle this courageous dissent. One of the weapons used by the State Government has been foisting hundreds of criminal cases against activists and villagers resisting the project and arbitrary arrests and jailing of them. The Government of Orissa has started the process of forcible land acquisition from Govindpur village, which is being resisted by villagers and member of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samithi (PPSS). The Police are attempting to break this struggle by the filing of false cases and arresting persons resisting the project. In the last one month around 6 activists of the PPSS have been arrested and are presently in prison. Representatives from Delhi Forum, New Delhi and Alternative Law Forum (ALF), Bangalore had gone on a Fact Finding visit to the POSCO affected Dhinkia Panchayat consisting of the villages of Dhinkia, Govindpur and Paatna between 22 and 24 December 2012 to collect first-hand information in regard to the abuse of the criminal system to implicate villagers as well as to figure out the areas of support needed. It was found that villagers have been unable to leave their villages for almost 6 to 8 years in fear that they would be arrested, and have been unable to approach the court for legal remedies due to financial constraints.