BhaWANIPATNA: Vedanta Ltd’s outside police and protesters between the two people, including an Odisha Industrial Security Force personnel, died and many were injured in clashes
plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district on Monday.
The incident comes less than one year after police opened fire on demonstrators protesting against another plant, its copper smelter in Tuticorin in
, killing 13 people
The deceased were identified as Dani Batra, a protester, and Sujeet Kumar Minz, an OISF jawan. OISF is a state security force under police command.
A group of around 70 local people, who have become displaced due to the commissioning of a proposed project by Vedanta, were on a Dharna outside the company’s main gate in Lanjigarh, demand for contractual jobs and their children for public school free of cost. The agitators alleged that the police, along with OISF personnel, resorted to lathicharge to stifle their voice and threaten them.
“We were on a peaceful dharna But police forcibly tried When we resisted, they resorted to lathicharge. This left one Dani Batra dead and several injured, “a protester from a nearby village, who refused to be named, said.
Maheswar Pati, another villager, alleged the violators broke out after some police personnel misbehaved with the agitators
Police, however, denied the allegations of high-handedness. “Our personnel used extreme restraint. The mob went on a rampage, vandalized the company premises and attacked our staff. The protesters also set many companies on the campus on fire. Many of our personnel were injured in the mob attack. A OISF jawan died due to the mob attack, “Kesinga’s sub-divisional police officer, Gupteswar Bhoi, said.
Roul, an inspector of OISF said, “The agitators pelted us with stones. They were extremely violent and refused to calm down despite many attempts by us. ”
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan hit out at the state government and police over the unrest “The police supported the company’s goons and attacked poor protesters,” he tweeted.
Vedanta, in a press statement, said, “We are deeply saddened by the news and offer our condolences to the families of the deceased. We will fully cooperate with the authorities We are sincere to appeal to protesters to not resort to such acts when a situation can be resolved through amicably through discussions. ”