Several injured as protesting farmers, cops clash in Rewari
Several persons were injured, including police personnel, and at least four vehicles were torched after farmers clashed with security forces at Asalwas village near Bawal town in Rewari district.chandigarh Updated: Jul 22, 2012 21:06 IST
Several persons were injured, including police personnel, and at least four vehicles were torched after farmers clashed with security forces at Asalwas village near Bawal town in Rewari district.
Over 15 people were seriously injured, including eight policemen, and two roadways buses, a truck and a fire brigade vehicle were burnt by a mob.
Eight policemen were also taken hostage by the angry villagers who chased away cops from the spot.
The confrontation started when a mahapanchayat called by farmers to protest against the land acquisition policy of the Haryana government, the Kishan Sanghrash Samiti --- leading the agitation -- decided to block the Jaipur-Delhi national highway-8 near the village on Sunday.
Some journalists and camerapersons too faced the brunt of both police and mob alike, and some cameras were smashed in the process.
Bhumi Adigrahan Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti had called a mahapanchayat on July 22 over the issue of the state government decision to acquire 3,000 acres in 21 villages of Rewari.
Residents of different villagers started gathering at the spot around 10am on Sunday, claiming to continue their agitation peacefully.
Kishan Sanghrash Samiti president Ram Kishan Mahalwas said that they has given an ultimatum to the administration to either hold parleys with them by 1pm or be ready to face the ire of farmers.
Over 500 police personnel were deployed on the other side of road where the mahapanchayat was held. Just before the clash, Rewari SP Abhishek Garg told Hindustan Times that police had been deployed to maintain law and order.
At about 1.10pm, Sangrash Samiti president Ram Mahalwas directed the protesters to move towards the Delhi-Jaipur highway and block it. Interestingly, authorities had not taken any steps to divert the traffic despite announcement by the protesters about their plans in the morning.
As the protesters reached the highway, police stationed on the other side chased them away. The protesters retreated initially and took shelter in nearby houses. They soon climbed rooftops of village houses and started pelting policemen with stones. Several police personnel and protesters sustained injuries in the clash that followed.
Later, other villagers armed with stones and batons arrived on the spot and chased away the cops. The protesters then smashed the windowpanes of several passing vehicles, including roadways buses carrying passengers, without caring for the safety of commuters.
Five passengers, including a woman, received minor injuries after protesters stoned a bus moving from Rewari towards Delhi. After making passengers alight, protesters burnt three roadways buses.
The protesters later dug up the highway using a JCB machine.
The clash between police and protesters continued for more than an hour, and no ambulances or relief reached the spot even as many were injured in the melee.
It is pertinent to mention here that on July 15, 350 farmers were booked by police after they ransacked the mini-secretariat building, including offices of deputy commissioner and superintendent of police, on the acquisition issue.
"No fresh violence has been reported but the situation is still volatile. However, we are holding negotiations with farmer leaders to normalise the situation," Rewari deputy commissioner Dr CG Rajni Kaanthan told Hindustan Times.
"Over 10 persons have sustained injuries, and they have been admitted to civil hospital, and reinforcement sent to the spot since the protesters are still sitting on the national highway," he added.
HJC seeks President's rule in the state
Criticising the police firing and lathicharge on the protesting farmers in Rewari, the Haryana Janhit Congress has decided to meet the Haryana Governor to press for imposition of the President's rule in the state.
HJC president Kuldeep Bishnoi said that a joint delegation of HJC and BJP had already sent a fax to the Governor with a request for appointment at the earliest. "The delegation will meet the Governor with its demand for President's rule. We also plan to meet the President soon in this regard," he said in a statement.
Denouncing the use of force by the state government to curb the voice of the protesting farmers, Bishnoi said that such highhandedness would not be tolerated. He also demanded immediate suspension of the police and administrative officers responsible for the police brutality on the farmers who were holding a panchayat (meeting) to discuss ways to
stop acquisition of their fertile land by the state government.