Eight police personnel taken hostage by anti-Posco group

Eight police personnel were today taken hostage near here by a group of locals opposing the Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel plant.

"A police jeep was stopped by locals, mostly women, as it entered Patana village under Dhinkia panchayat and all the eight occupants, including the driver, were held captive," Additional Superintendent of Police Shantanu Das said.

No harm was caused to the police personnel by anti-Posco activists, he said.

Abhaya Sahu, president Posco Pratirodh Sangram Committee (PPSS) spearheading the anti-Posco agitation claimed that it was agreed at a meeting between Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and PPSS leaders last year that police force would not venture into Dhinkia area.

The jeep carrying policemen should not have moved into the area, Sahu said, adding unless and until a convincing explanation is received why policemen entered the area, the cops would not be released.

The ASP said he spoke to PPSS leaders in an effort to sort out the matter.

"The situation is tense but under control in the area after the incident," he said.

The Home secretary should give an explanation as to

why police force entered Dhinkia panchayat area when PPSS

activists were busy organising the meeting, Sahu said.

"We must know as to with whose permission the policemen entered into the area," he said.

The PPSS activists were gathering for a rally in nearby Gobindpur village when the incident took place, police said.

Meanwhile, land acquisition for the mega steel project progressed smoothly in neighbouring Bayanala and Noliasahi areas with around 22 betel plantations being acquired by the officials, official sources said.

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