A security man was burnt to death by a mob and a protester killed in clashes near the Vedanta alumina refinery in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, after locals demanding jobs tried to storm its premises Monday, police claimed.
Twenty people were also injured in the clashes that broke out between Odisha Industrial Security Force (OISF) personnel and the protesters, police said.
The incident took place when residents of Rengopali and nearby villages were staging a demonstration near the refinery at Lanjigarh demanding jobs and other facilities, Kalahandi SP B Gangadhar said.
They were also demanding admission of their children in a school run by the company and jobs to local youth at the refinery, police said. Some of the agitators tried to enter the refinery’s premises through the main gate, but were stopped by OISF personnel deployed there, they said.
The protesters fought a pitched battle with the security personnel and resorted to stone pelting in a bid to storm the refinery campus, police said.
A statement released by the Corporate Communications wing of Vedanta Limited said that a clash between security personnel at its plant and some local protesters had claimed the lives of two people.
Vedanta is the largest aluminium producer in India with a capacity of 2.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) and a 40 per cent market share in India’s aluminium industry, as per the company’s website.
The Lanjigarh plant of the company operates under Vedanta Limited, which is under the holding company Vedanta Resources.
The Vedanta statement stated: “This morning some agitators near our Lanjigarh plant staged a protest which led to a violent agitation. The local Odisha Industrial Security Force personnel (OISF), who intervened were attacked by the protestors during which some protestors and OISF personnel got injured and they were immediately moved to the local hospital. According to the hospital authorities, one protestor and one OISF staff have succumbed to injuries.”
Created under Odisha Industrial Security Force Act (2012), the OISF provides protection and security for industrial undertakings owned by the state government, private and public sector undertakings.
Activists involved with protests against Vedanta say that the local killed has been identified as Dani Patra, a native of Chhatrapur village under Lajigarh administrative divison.