Police use water cannons on protesting farmers at NTPC Dadri, several hurt
The incident comes on the day when the chief minister Yogi Adityanath and President Droupadi Murmu were in the district
Several farmers protesting outside the NTPC Limited in Dadri in Gautam Budh Nagar were allegedly hurt after the police used water cannons to disperse them.
Twelve protesters were arrested late Tuesday evening, police said.
Farmer leader Sukhbir Khalifa (Pehelwan) from Bharatiya Kisan Parishad, who led the protest, said 11 protesters, including a woman, were injured in the police action.
The incident comes on the day when the chief minister Yogi Adityanath and President Droupadi Murmu were in the district in the district -- the former to inaugurate a host of projects and the latter to take part in the World Water Week at India Expo Mart in Greater Noida.
Khalifa said at least 600 protesters from 24 nearby villages gathered at the NTPC Dadri project site’s main gate to demand fair compensation for their land acquired by the corporation during the early 1970s.
“While we were sitting on a peaceful protest, a large number of police personnel surrounded us and a fire tender was brought to the site. The officials sprayed us and at least 400 women protesters with water. The police also cane charged protesters and an 85-year-old woman from Uncha Hamirpur village was injured in the leg and had to be hospitalised. At least 10 other people also sustained injuries in the police action,” said Khalifa.
Protesters alleged that the police acted in an unjust manner. “We were carrying out a non-violent protest but the police acted in an unjust manner against us. We will now take our demands to Dadri MLA and will continue to protest against NTPC Dadri,” said Tony, another member of Bharatiya Kisan Parishad and a protester.
Police denied cane charging the protesters and said water cannons were used because the protesters were turning violent and were attempting to enter the NTPC project site by breaking through the gates.
“Water cannons with very mild pressure was used on protesters in order to pacify them as they were getting aggressive and were attempting to break through the gates and obstruct the functioning of the plant. There were around 300 protesters at the site, including women. There was no cane charging protesters and no one was hurt by the police. All such allegations are false,” said Abhishek Verma, deputy commissioner of police, Greater Noida.
He claimed that protesters pelted stones at the police and two personnel were injured. “There was heavy force deployment at the protest site, including para military forces, local police and two companies of provincial armed constabulary (PAC),” he said.
The DCP said an FIR is being registered against 55 identified and 500 unidentified suspects under sections of rioting, causing obstruction to a public officer and inciting violence of and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
“Relevant sections of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 are also been imposed on the suspects,” said the officer.
In a statement issued later, NTPC Dadri said “the demands raised by the Bharatiya Kisan Parishad are being examined by the corporation under its existing policies, regulations and rules.”