JAGATSINGHPUR: Dhinkia turned into a battlefield of sorts after police and villagers clashed over demarcation of Mahala, the newly-created village, on Monday, December 20, 2021, pitching the protest against JSW Steel project in limelight.
Opposing the demarcation exercise, hundreds of villagers including women and children staged demonstration at Mahala. To disperse them, police resorted to lathi-charge and in retaliation, the agitators pelted stones at the security forces. However, no one was injured in the clash.
After demarcating Patana village earlier, the administration completed the exercise in Mahala. When the police force was returning to Paradip after demarcation work, the agitating villagers resorted to protest which led to the baton-charge and stone-pelting. Sources said 12 platoons of police were deployed at Mahala village for the demarcation work.
Even as the cops clashed with the protestors, two kin of Jindal Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (JPSS ) leader Debendra Swain were arrested on the charge of assaulting police. While villagers of Dhinkia were staging protest at Mahala, police raided Swain’s house and arrested his father Ayodhya (73) and sister Mili (23).
Sources said, JPSS had intensified protest against the demarcation exercise over the last two days and engaged hundreds of schoolchildren in the agitation.
Jagatsinghpur SP Akhileshwar Singh said the arrested duo was involved in three different cases involving assault on police. “A case has been registered against the villagers of Dhinkia for attacking police with stones. The accused will be arrested soon,” he added.
Following the incident, JPSS has deployed villagers to man three different points to restrict police from entering Dhinkia. Police too have erected barricades to restrict entry of outsiders into Dhinkia.
Erasama tehsildar C Pragyananda Das said, Dhinkia has been bifurcated into two revenue villages - Patana and Mahala as per the State government’s directive.
The decision to bifurcate Dhinkia is being resisted by villagers who feel that the administration was playing a ‘divide-and-rule’ game to foil their movement against industries including JSW Steel on the grounds that such projects do not benefit locals. The villagers allege the bifurcation is a ploy to hand over land to industries.