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Govt Officer violates Law, beats Protester at Posco Site

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TNI Bureau: While the government is under pressure over the fresh tension between agitating villagers and police over land acquisition operation for Posco project, a footage showing an anti-Posco protester is being beaten by a government land officer in Gobindpur village triggered outrage in the state.

The social activists and politicians demanded strong action against the official condemning the act, which was committed for the first time in the history of protest and revolution after independence.

Usually, the cops are deployed to control the protesters. But this time, a government land officer was seen violating the rule and beat the protester mercilessly with a stick on Sunday when the violence occurred at Posco site near Jagatsinghpur district’s Gobindpur village.

Sangram Mohapatra, a land officer working with Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO), allegedly beat an anti-Posco protester in the presence of Jagatsinghpur district officials and policemen during the protest staged peacefully by hundreds of men, women and children.

The footage was aired on local Kanak TV channel on Tuesday. The footage showed that the officer was in a red colour sweater. He was moving from one place to another, dragged some children at the protest site.

As per the government rule, the government officials except police cannot attack the protesters. Even police do not have power to attack the protesters if they will be staging a protest peacefully. District superintendent of police, Satyabrata Bhoi, said that a probe has been ordered into the incident.

Condemning the incident, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) said that the government officer acted as an agent of the South Korean company. The   PPSS would move the State Human Rights Commission against the officer.

BJP’s state unit president Jual Oram also condemned the incident and demanded action against the officer and policemen who allegedly attacked the protesters. He said, “India is a democratic country where everybody has the right to protest. If the government goes on quelling such peaceful demonstrations, it will have to face the consequences”.

“Even police do not have the power to attack such protestors. It there is an unlawful assembly, police can take steps to disperse the mob. The gathering at the site where the incident occurred was not unlawful,” human rights activist Biswapriya Kanungo said. “It was a (case of) state repression on the citizen,” he added.

Meanwhile, ruling BJD also condemned the incident. State health minister Damodar Rout, who represents the region in the state assembly said that officers like Mohapatra were responsible for creating disturbance in the area.

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