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POSCO:: Arrest of and Malicious Campaign against our leader Sri Abhay Sahu

Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Dhinkia, Jagatsinghpur, Orissa, India

October 18, 2008

Press Note on Arrest of and Malicious Campaign against our leader Sri
Abhay Sahu

Dear Friends,

It is shocking to learn that the arrest of Sri Abhaya Sahu,
President, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti was part of a plan by the
state to destabilize the movement against land acquisition by the
South Korean Posco in Dhinkia, Gada Kujanga and Nuagaon Gram
Panchayats of Jagatsinghpur district, Orissa. Abhaya bhai was part of
a democratic structure and led the movement as per the mandate given
to him by the people. In addition to him there are many leaders who
have been leading the fight on the ground against the unethical
conduct of the state and the corporate Posco in the area with equal
commitment and determination. Abhaya bhai had to be taken to a
hospital, which was not disclosed because of threats to his life. The
local doctor advised him to do so since he had a complex of health
problem and the doctor felt that Abhaya bhai was neglecting his health
too much. His sugar levels had gone beyond 400 and he was losing
mobility. Only because of his failing health, an unwilling Abhaya bhai
was forced to leave Dhinkia, which, he made his home for the last 3
years. He was in a house which did not have electricity and the
villagers were providing him food on rotation.While returning, the
vehicle he had taken on hire from the city was stopped at Bhutamundei
chak on Paradeep route in the evening of 12th October 2008 and he was
arrested.

Let me inform you here that there was no such interrogation or
questioning of Abhaya bhai by police or the intelligence officials. No
cash or credit cards recovered from him. The police only took away his
hospital records and some tickets and payment receipts. He was
arrested in the evening of 12th October. He was taken to Paradeep
circuit house in the night. He was produced immediately after that
before the Kujang magistrate and the bail was turned down. 13th
October morning he was in Choudwar jail near Cuttack. But the police
in Jagatsinghpur had prepared their own plan to launch a malicious
campaign against him. They shared all that they had manufactured to
mislead the public with a section of the media who are working more as
a medium for posco rather than a neutral news-sharing medium to share
the truth. They wanted the people believe that, Abhay Sahu had built a
bunglow in Bhubaneswar and had amassed huge properties and was leading
a luxurious life in some cities. When I met him in Jail and shared all
these, he had a big laugh and said if there is house which I don't
know but they know, you please ask them to dispose the house/bunglow
and give the money to anti-Posco fighters to carry on the fight in my
absence. He has only a patch of land in his native village close to
the posco affected area, he said. But he put a counter question, how
much the media, officers and the politicians have got out of the Rs
2000 million Posco has claimed to have spent in the project where
single brick has not been moved?
We are sure the people in the area who know abhaya bhai and the
sacrifices he has made for the last 3 years will get more angry and
agitated with such ill motivated campaigns against their leadership
but the middleclass intellectuals have faith in the corporate media. I
am told a corporate person in the name of Nayak who is a perfect
example of the nexus between the corrupt media and the corrupting
corporations has resumed once again the well calculated drive against
the on going peoples' movements and their committed leadership in
Orissa. If one remembers this name was used extensively to
propagate Tata powered campaigns against the leadership of
Kalinganagar movement. I would like to caution the well- wishers of
the struggling and repressed people of Orissa not to fall in any such
trap.

For everybody let me clarify that the anti-displacement struggle
against Posco is going on as usual and gaining strength though in the
process we have lost Dula Mandal and 4 of our activists including the
leader Abhaya Sahu and the leader of Govindapur Prakash Jena are in
jail. The Posco authorities in connivance with some villagers of
Nuagaon had a meeting on the 17th of October to launch an attack on
our peaceful villagers in Govindapur. The people are ready to face
such an attack, which looks imminent since the collector and SP of
Jagatsingpur are helping them and encouraging them. We would request
you all to please put pressure on the CM not to encourage such people
to launch offensives of this nature. Abhaya bhai was able to control
the anger of the agitators even in extreme situations. But his absence
will be felt only if there is armed attack on our peaceful agitators
who are terribly angry and upset because their fellow activists
earlier and their leader now have been arrested without any reason.

We assure you that our struggle will achieve its objectives and the
company will be driven out of our soil.

Prashant Paikray
Spokesperson

Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
09437571547
Prashant Paikray