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Protest singes; four dead

india Updated: Aug 15, 2008 01:16 IST
Kapil Datta
Kapil Datta
Hindustan Times
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Three villagers and a policeman were killed, while over 200 were injured, in a clash between protesting farmers and the police outside the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) office on Wednesday.

The farmers were demanding enhanced compensation for land acquired after 2004.

The incident took place around 11 a.m., when the villagers gathered outside the GNIDA office and started pelting stones.

The police said they had to fire to disperse the violent crowd.

A committee headed by Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate S.K. Sharma had recommended that an amount ranging from Rs 175 per square metre to Rs 200 per square metre be paid for land acquired up to 2006.

The killed villagers were identified as Yogesh (24), Kalua (28) and Rajinder Sharma (20). The slain Police Armed Constabulary personnel (PAC) man was identified as Sridhar.

About 50 of the injured were taken to Kailash Hospital, while 150 others were admitted to other hospitals nearby.

The protestors even tried to torch the hospital but were prevented from doing so. The mob later burned a police gypsy parked outside the hospital.

The farmers claimed six of their men were killed, while 35 were missing. The police said they arrested 30 persons.

The police claimed the protestors fired first with locally made firearms after which they were forced to retaliate. The villagers, however, claimed the police fired without any provocation.

Charan Singh (80) told HT, “We were demonstrating peacefully when the police caned us and started firing.” “I and another villager hid behind some bushes. The PAC men dragged us out and assaulted us with sticks till we fainted,” he added.

Omvir said he was sitting in a park when the police started beating him. “I suffered injuries in my eye, hands and legs,” he said.

Protestor Risal Singh said the farmers should have the right to sell their land to anybody they wanted to. “We want to sell our land to private builders,” he said.

IGP Gian Singh said: “The police initially used water canons, then mild lathi-charge and teargas shells. Later, they fired in the air to disperse the uncontrollable mob,” he told mediapersons.