Korean labour and civil society organisations have expressed disappointment in the Indian Government for “pushing ahead the POSCO project without consideration of human rights of the villagers and environment.”

In a letter to Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, dated February 7, 10 Korean organisations said that on January 28, this year when the South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy visited India, the Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, had said “We have been concerned about the delays and will be conducting a review. Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) himself has been monitoring this project”.

If the outcome of ‘review’ and ‘monitoring’ is resorting to violence and bring in armed forces, then we are disappointed with the Indian Government, the letter said.

Requesting the Indian Government to halt 'forcible' land acquisition immediately, the letter said “despite POSCO project's acquired legitimacy from the Indian Government, it is clear that mobilisation of police force should not be the principal means of resolving deportation cases.”

The letter by Advocates for Public Interests Law, Energy & Climate Policy Institute, Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights among others, urged the Prime Minister to withdraw the police force as soon as possible and prosecute those responsible for the assault, provide treatment to injured villagers and compensate those who lost their trees and other sources of livelihood.

They also sought re-examination of the POSCO project and ensure the affected villagers’ right to partake in decision-making.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 9, 2013)
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