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India: Stop Brutal Police Assault On Peaceful Protestors

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION -- URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-015-2013

Send an Urgent Appeal Letter


3 February 2013
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India: Immediately Stop The Brutal Police Assault On Peaceful Protesters Opposing Posco Project In Odisha

ISSUES: Impunity; right to life; right to liberty; legislation; prosecution system; democracy; caste-based discrimination; threats and intimidation; violence against women
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti about brutal police assault on villagers who were peacefully protesting against forcible acquisition of their lands. The 12 platoon strong mobilisation that culminated in the assault started around midnight and the police finally entered the village around 4 in the morning and assaulted everyone, not sparing even the small children. The action, apart from being brutal, is also inexplicable as the state has no reason to hurriedly acquire the lands when the National Green Tribunal has already suspended the environment clearance to the proposed POSCO project. This was one protest amongst many that have been occurring against the POSCO project in Orissa, which will gravely affect people’s livelihood, food security and the environment.

CASE NARRATIVE:

A 12 platoon strong police force forcibly entered the Govindpur and Dhinkia villages of Jagatsingpur district in Odihsa and brutally assaulted the peaceful protesters who are opposing POSCO project in their area by making a human chain. The police did not spare even the elderly and the women and reportedly swung small children into air.

The police started entering the area around midnight and the massive swelling in their ranks was noticed by the villagers at around 2am early in the morning of today, 03 February 2013. The villagers then alerted others and rushed to the dharna (sit in) and human chain site. The police started their attack at around 4 am targeting the women and children who were standing in the frontlines of the human chain, thinking that their presence would make the police act a little humanely at least.

This, however, did not deter the police force, an all male one, and attacked the women injuring many of them. The numbers are yet to be known. Even more brutally, they reportedly swung little children accompanying their mothers in air. They then arrested several villagers and whisked then away to some unknown location. The assault, however, did not deter the villagers and many more of them have reached the protest site amidst growing tension. The situation has turned almost into a warlike one. The police have started breaking down the betel vines and cutting trees. The unarmed villagers are presently facing a 12 platoon strong police force armed to teeth.

The assault is completely inexplicable as the state should be in no hurry to acquire the land when the the National Green Tribunal has already suspended the environment clearance to the proposed POSCO project in our area.

The attack is just another addition to many such attacks on the protesters including the ones carried out by the hired goons of the private company. The state government has consistently failed to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of those affected by the POSCO project. Instead, it has continuously sided with those violating the rights. It is our firm belief that no development project should be launched without respecting human rights. This is one of the basic principles and duties of a state party to various international human rights laws, which India is.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write a letter to the concerned government agencies to express your concern about the Police assault on peacefully protesting villagers and ask them to immediately stop the assault. You may also demand strict action against those responsible for this attack.

Please note that the Asian Human Rights Commission has written letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women calling for her urgent intervention in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here: Send an Urgent Appeal Letter


SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ______,

INDIA: Immediately stop the brutal police assault on peaceful protesters opposing POSCO project in Odisha

Victims: Inhabitants of Govindpur and Dhinkia villages of Jagatsingpur district in Odihsa
Alleged perpetrators: Police of Jagatsingpur district
Date of incident: 3 February 2013 (Still ongoing)
Place of incident: Govindpur and Dhinkia villages of Jagatsingpur district in Odihsa

I am writing to you with grave concern regarding the ongoing brutal police assault on the villagers peacefully protesting against the POSCO project. As you might be aware of, a 12 platoon strong police force forcibly entered the Govindpur and Dhinkia villages of Jagatsingpur district in Odihsa and brutally assaulted the peaceful protesters who are opposing the project in their area by making a human chain. The police did not spare even the elderly and the women and reportedly swung small children into air.

The police started entering the area around midnight and the massive swelling in their ranks was noticed by the villagers at around 2am early in the morning of today, 03 February 2013. The villagers then alerted others and rushed to the dharna (sit in) and human chain site. The police started their attack at around 4 am targeting the women and children who were standing in the frontlines of the human chain, thinking that their presence would make the police act a little humanely at least.

This, however, did not deter the police force, an all male one, and attacked the women injuring many of them. The numbers are yet to be known. Even more brutally, they reportedly swung little children accompanying their mothers in air. They then arrested several villagers and whisked then away to some unknown location. The assault, however, did not deter the villagers and many more of them have reached the protest site amidst growing tension. The situation has turned almost into a warlike one. The police have started breaking down the betel vines and cutting trees. The unarmed villagers are presently facing a 12 platoon strong police force armed to teeth.

The assault is completely inexplicable as the state should be in no hurry to acquire the land when the the National Green Tribunal has already suspended the environment clearance to the proposed POSCO project in our area.

The attack is just another addition to many such attacks on the protesters including the ones carried out by the hired goons of the private company. The state government has consistently failed to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of those affected by the POSCO project. Instead, it has continuously sided with those violating the rights. It is our firm belief that no development project should be launched without respecting human rights. This is one of the basic principles and duties of a state party to various international human rights laws, which India is.

I therefore urge you to,

1. Ensure that the police assault is stopped immediately and the force is returned to barracks,
2. Ensure an impartial investigation is conducted into the case and those responsible for the attack are prosecuted,
3. Ensure medical and other facilities to the injured villagers,
4. Ensure that those who have lost their trees or other sources of livelihood are compensated,
5. Ensure that the human rights of protesters are respected and protected.
6. Ensure that the villagers’ right to participate in decision making for the POSCO project, as well as their right to land, natural resources and food.

Sincerely,

---------------------------------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minster
Government of India
Room No. 148 B, South block, New Delhi
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 230116857; 23015603
Email: manmohan@sansad.nic.in

2. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 2338 4863
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

3. Chairperson
National Commission for Women
4, Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Marg
New Delhi-110 002
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23236154
Email: complaintcell-ncw@nic.in

4. Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister, Odisha
Through the office of the Principal Secretary
Home Department, Government of Orissa
Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road
Bhubaneswar, Odhisha
INDIA
Fax: +91 6742535100
E-mail: cmo@ori.nic.in

5. Shri B K Patnaik
Chief Secretary
Orissa Secretariat
Bhubaneshwar – 751001
Odhisha
INDIA
Fax: +91 674-2536660 / +91 674 2536660
E-mail: csori@ori.nic.in

6. S.K. Mallick
District Collector
Jagatsinghpur
Odhisha
INDIA
Fax: +91 6724220299
Email: dmjsp@ori.nic.in

7. POSCO
Department of Ethics Management
892, Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, 135-284
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Tel: +82 3457 1484
Fax: +82 2 3457 6261
E-mail: ethics@posco.co.kr


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Send an Urgent Appeal Letter

Visit our new website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

You can make a difference. Please support our work and make a donation here.

ENDS

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