Officials were caught napping when they reached Bhatta-Parsaul to rescue the abducted roadways employees. They thought it would be one of those routine police operations as farmers have been kidnapping and releasing government employees for the past four months.
"We had no information that they were prepared to take on us in such a violent manner. Now we know that they had collected firearms as part of a door-to-door campaign," admitted a police officer, who was camping at the site. The local intelligence unit had warned that farmers might retaliate with firearms but the police failed to act accordingly.
"Villagers already had firearms but we now have information that they used money given to them recently as compensation following a clash with police to purchase more arms and ammunition," said a police officer, undergoing treatment at a Noida hospital after Saturday’s clash. Farmers also used explosives to attack the police, he said.
On February 21, farmers attacked a truck of security forces, kidnapped a sub-inspector and took away his light machine gun. The abducted officer was rescued after a clash, injuring several farmers.
"Rs 50 lakh was paid as compensation to those injured. The money was used to buy firearms," the police official said.