A number of social organizations have issued a joint statement to protest against the police action that was executed on 29th April 2013 at the Lower Suktel Project site in Magurbeda of Balangir District in Odisha, where a number of protestors including larger number of women (including teenage girls) and a journalist was beaten up by the police. The organizations have put a direct question to the state government in this context.
Endorsed by the social organizations like – New Socialist Initiative (NSI), National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), Students For Resistance, Gandhi Peace Foundation, POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi, PUCL Delhi, WSS, Socialist Front, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan, Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra, People’s Democratic Front of India, Left Collective, Jan Morcha, SANHATI, All India Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM), Jharkhand Jangal Bachao Andolan (JJBA), North Bengal Forum of Forest People and Forest Movement and many more concerned individuals the statement says –
“We, the undersigned, are anguished and appalled by the brutality and excesses of Orissa Police on peaceful demonstrators and concerned citizens near Magurbeda village of Balangir District in Orissa on 29 April 2013. At least 40 persons received severe injuries in this unprovoked lathi-charge and police brutality. We strongly condemn such police action and demand that responsible policemen be brought to book immediately!
Shockingly, during this standoff police dramatically turned into a confrontation, women were pulled by their hair, thrown on ground with policemen deliberately trampled over their feet and private parts as if they were trying to get confessions out of hardened criminals – all this under the supervision of the Sub-Divisional Police Officer and the Sub-Collector of Balangir, the latter with magisterial power…………..
……….. Notably, Amitabh Patra, a journalist-filmmaker, who was shooting the confrontation, was purposefully targeted and rounded up by about a dozen policemen who beat him and kicked him ceaselessly on his head and face. Policemen seized his two cameras and broke both even as he lay unconscious for several hours.
(Talking to The News Insight Patra said, “My total unconiousness was for few minutes, not for hours, as mentioned, but I was in bad condition for many hour, bleding profusely from my head, without treatment”) Note – The text provided in this para is not part of the joint Statement, but later provide by the victim himself and hence added.
We would want an explanation from the government as what authority the Odisha Police has got to stop filmmakers from shooting such stand-offs? Under which rule of law, the Odisha Police has the power to strike at a journalist or a filmmaker with such brutality with intention to damage his head, when he was only a witness to what was going on?……
…….We also strongly condemn the unilateral fatwa of Balangir Bar Council not to take up any cases in favour of any ‘outsiders’,……………”
Please find the full statement in this link below –