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Cancel Jindal project seeking to 'dispossess' people from forest land: Odisha govt told

By Our Representative 

The civil rights group, Indian Community Activists Network (ICAN), commenting on the “barbaric” police action on the night of December 3 against the people of Dhinkia village, Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha, has said that the attack took place on people who were “peacefully protesting against the proposed project of JSW Utkal Steel Limited by forcefully acquiring their land.”
In a statement, it said, “Even as Odisha was bracing for the fury of Cyclone Jawad and people were being evacuated to shelters, the police attacked the village, attempted to arrest a leader of the protest, Debendra Swain, and injured four village residents who resisted them.”
According to ICAN, “This is an area where people’s resistance was successful against the State Government’s attempt to grab land for the project of the South Korean steel company POSCO. Now, in the name of development, the Biju Janata Dal government of Odisha is attempting a land grab on behalf of the Indian corporate Jindal, dispossessing people and depriving them of their livelihoods from betel, prawn and fruit cultivation.”
Stating that this area has forests on revenue land, on which, according to the Forest Rights Act, 2006, ICAN said, “The local people can have individual, community and community forest resource management rights under the aegis of their Gram Sabhas. Instead of decentralised, community-led development based on local natural resource-based livelihoods, the State government is seeking to violently impose a model of corporate-led development that will destroy natural resources and the livelihoods of local communities who manage these resources.”
Putting forth a series of demands, it said, the injured “must be provided medical treatment and compensation by the government”, action must be taken against the police personnel “involved in this grave violation of human rights”, the Forest Rights Act must be “implemented and management rights over the local natural resources be vested in the Gram Sabhas.”, and the “proposed project of Jindals in the area should be cancelled.”

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