CONVENTION TO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY
WITH THE ANTI-POSCO MOVEMENT IN ORISSA
AND CONDEMN THE INCREASING STATE REPRESSION ON PEACEFUL RESISTANCES
AND DEMAND RELEASE OF PPSS LEADER ABHAYA SAHU
Date: 24 October 2008
Time: 2.30 p.m. – 5.30 p.m.
Venue: Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi
Speakers include: Prashant Paikray (PPSS, Orissa); Sudhir Pattnaik (Activist and Editor of Samadrusti, Orissa); A B Bardhan; Justice Rajendar Sachar; B D Sharma (Bharat Jan Andolan); Surendra Mohan (Samajwadi Jan Parishad); Usha Ramanathan; Prashant Bhushan; D Bandopadhyaya; and Others
Conveners: Manoranjan Mohanty; Sumit Chakravorty; B D Sharma; Usha Ramanathan; Ashok Agarwal; Ravi Hemadri
For the past three years, the people of Dhinkia, Gobindpur, and Nuagaon panchayats in Kujang Tehsil of Jagatsinghpur District in Orissa, under the banner of the PPSS (POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti), have been relentlessly and non-violently resisting the take-over of their resources for the establishment of a mega steel plant and a port by the Korean steel giant POSCO. In the latest attempt by the Orissa government to undermine the anti-POSCO agitation, the president of the PPSS, Abhay Sahu, was malafidely arrested on 12 October 2008. His arrest once again brings to public attention how the government has become brazen in favour of corporate interests, and is increasingly overt in using repression, intimidation and, worse, to silence people's democratic voices. While the state government has an obligatory duty to contain the spreading communal violence at the moment, it has rather adopted the age-old tactics to divert public attention from its inability and unwillingness to do so by arresting Abhay Sahu in a desperate bid to intimidate all democratic peaceful resistances. Despite the repression unleashed on them, the villagers and their supporters have stood their ground and have further intensified the resistance, refusing to part with their land and soil.
Undemocratic measures taken by the state to crush peoples' peaceful movements needs is widely condemned and it is time for all concerned citizens to strengthen the collective resistance against such repression. The convention is aimed to consolidate people's strength into a collective in order to contribute to the process of resisting forceful acquisition of lands and natural resources in the name of 'development' (that has become synonymous of 'devastation') and uphold people's right to dissent in defence of their lives and livelihoods.
Sridevi Panikkar – 91+9868099304; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subrat K Sahu – 91+9868182363; email@example.com