As you might aware, Abhay Sahoo, one of the prominent leaders of the anti POSCO movement in Orissa was arrested on 12th October 2008 under various false charges. Abhay Sahoo who is diabetic and has blood pressure problems had to be admitted to Cuttuck Medical College hospital on 3rd December 2008. Despite his fragile health condition State is continuing with its inhuman atrocities even in hospital. On the pretext of non-availability of bed in the hospital, Abhay Sahoo whose condition is critical has been kept on the floor and he has been handcuffed and chained. He is being treated like a dreaded criminal.
This calls us to come together and show our solidarity with these movements and strongly demand from State to act sensibly by respecting people’s rights. This Appeal letter written to Orissa Governor demands to stop continued harassment of Shri Abhay Sahoo and other POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti leaders in Jail, ensuring immediate proper medical care of Abhay Sahoo and withdrawal of false cases against POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti activists.
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Shri Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare
Governor of Orissa
Sub: Appeal to instruct Orissa Government to stop its continued harassment of Shri Abhay Sahoo and other POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti leaders in Jail, ensuring immediate proper medical care of Abhay Sahoo and withdrawal of false cases against POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti activists
We are writing to condemn the continued imprisonment of Shri Abhay Sahoo, leader of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) and other six PPSS leaders on account of several false cases in order to suppress anti POSCO people’s movement in Jagatsinghpur District. As you might be aware, tens of thousands of people in Jagatsinghpur District, Orissa, have put up an exemplary, ‘non-violent’ resistance for the past three years against forcible take-over of their lands and resources by the Korean steel giant POSCO. The state’s dubious plans to build a mega steel plant on their lands will not only devastate the sustainable livelihood systems of thousands of local people; it will also pauperise many more lakhs considering the port and iron-ore mining necessarily associated with the project.
State repression on the movement started right from the day one and it reached a high point when the president of PPSS, Abhay Sahoo, was malafidely arrested on 12 October 2008 evening near Paradip. Now even after period of nearly two months there has been hardly any progress on litigation part. Clearly Orissa Government in synchronization with POSCO is trying to delay judicial proceedings to languish Abhay Sahoo and others for longer period of time with these unjustified and unfair legal tactics. One can understand these legal maneuverings with the fact that State is still piling false cases against these leaders, allegedly very recently six new cases has been framed against Mr. Sahoo.
Sir, its not only that State is employing legal plotting to defame and unjustly detain Abhay Sahoo and others in order to silence people’s voice but dangerously they are also playing with lives of these protestors who are in jail, especially with the life of Abhay Sahoo. It’s a fact that Abhay Sahoo was arrested while coming back from hospital after attending his on going treatment sessions. After his arrest, due to deliberate negligence of his fragile health status on the State part he is under consistent life threat. Only after his health status turned from bad to worst jail authorities bother to admit him to hospital on December 03, 2008. Apart from other health problems Mr. Sahoo is acute diabetic and patient of blood pressure. Even in hospital Police is continuing with their inhuman atrocities, not only he has been kept on the floor but also Mr. Sahoo has been handcuffed and chained like a dreaded criminal.
We therefore call upon you to ensure:
· Ensuring human treatment and immediate arrangement of proper medical facilities and care for Mr. Abhay Sahoo
· Immediate release of Mr. Sahoo and all other arrested PPSS leaders and withdrawal of false cases framed against them
· Restraining Police from carrying their physical and mental atrocities with these leaders
- Prosecution of all those responsible for human rights violation of these leaders