More than 24 people, including eleven policemen, were injured in a clash between villagers and a demolition squad on Tuesday. The squad, accompanied by police and PAC men, was in village Bakhtawarpur in distant sector 126 to demolish unauthorized construction along the Greater Noida Expressway, when a mob started pelting stones at them.
“The villagers began pelting stones at the police team which was moving ahead of the demolition team. Several policemen were injured in the process. However we managed to get the land free of encroachment,” said Noida Authority Deputy Chief Executive Officer NP Singh.
Sixteen people have been arrested for the rioting, said police.
Police had to use batons to disperse the rioting mob that damaged several vehicles. Villagers claimed the police resorted to aerial fire as well.
District Magistrate Deepak Aggarwal said, "There was no firing by police."
Trouble began when the demolition squad started their work at khasra number 606, occupied by village residents Sarda Ram, Shree Ram, Chander Pal, Leela Ram, Chahat ram and Omvir Singh. All belong to the same family.
The residents claimed they had not taken compensation yet for their land, which has been acquired by the government for urban development.
Moreover they alleged that PAC men and policemen had damaged their houses and even misbehaved with the female members.
Senior Superintendent of Police,A.K.Singh, District Magistrate Deepak Aggarwal and other senior district administration officials had to rush to the site of the violence to pacify the mob, said police.
This was Day 2 of the Noida Authority's demolition drive.
"On Monday our demolition team razed to the ground illegal construction from 1,2000 square metres land at Bakhtawarpur and today they had gone to the village to clear another 1,200 square metres," said Singh.
"As the Authority had to provide 5 per cent of the acquired land to the previous owners, we did not demolish structures from that portion of the land so that farmers could be given developed land there itself," he said.
"We also did not demolish the old abadi land of the village. Our aim is integrated development of the area where farmers too get blended into sectors without causing any harm or financial loss to them. But the authority will not tolerate unauthorized construction whether in villages or sectors.,"said Singh.
Singh said the acquired land patches had been compensated.
"The Authority had issued a notification (for acquisition) in 2000 and deposited the land compensation amount at treasury and taken possession in 2002. Later villagers started constructing unauthorized rooms to grab the land."
Aggarwal said,"Most of the 16 arrested were from outside the village and triggered the violence.”
With PTI inputs