The vegetable garden of Odisha is going to be submerged and more than 50 villages displaced; and the name of the game is ‘Development at Gunpoint’ – meaning ‘peaceful industrialization’ as the chief minister claims!
Thousands of farmers of the Lower Suktel plateau in Balangir are protesting against this upcoming dam for more than a decade now. After many a round of brutal repression and forceful land acquisition, the State has now declared the ‘final war’ against its own people.
On 29 April 2013, more than 2000 people were holding ground in opposition to the dam project. Early in the morning, 10 platoons of police force cracked down on the peaceful protesters. They started beating people mercilessly, without any provocation. They dragged women, clamped their feet with heavy boots, and tried to lynch Amitabh Patra, a filmmaker, who was filming the excesses first hand. The policemen, who appeared to be drunk, behaved like hired goons of some mafia outfit.
The police arrested 16 people, including Amitabh Patra and Lenin Kumar, editor of *Nisan*. Amitabh is still struggling for life with severe head injuries.