Fifty villagers were injured after clashes with the police over using an access road that runs through military land in the industrial town of Pimpri-Chinchwad near Pune.
The villagers wanted to use a route through the College of Military Engineering (CME) to reach their village – a route they said they use regularly.
The violence began after the group was stopped at the CME gate. The police said the villagers tried forcing their way in, after which CME authorities called the police. The police resorted to lathi charge and teargas to stop the protests.
The police said the protesters pelted stones at police vans. By evening, the police detained around 100 protesters.
Defence authorities said the CME was acting on directions of the high court. The villagers, however, claimed that 20,000 people would be affected if the access route is shut.
In its statement, the CME said, “The College of Military Engineering is a walled military campus, housing various institutes, training equipment and stores that are sensitive in nature and their security is of utmost importance.”
“All facts about availability of access, land records and security-related implications of the defence forces were considered by the Hon’ble high court, Mumbai, after which the order was passed on April 21, 2015, inter-alia stating that no road to be constructed or no right of way be granted to anyone to pass through the land in possession of CME.”
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, said, “The defence authorities cannot be blamed totally. We are trying to find a way, wherever possible, to provide access to people from defence areas.”