Eight policemen among 20 hurt in clash during anti-encroachment drive in Patna

The trouble started when a team of Patna district administration and police started demolishing illegal constructions on the land acquired by the Bihar State Housing Board.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2017 17:18 IST
Avinash Kumar/ Subhash Pathak
Avinash Kumar/ Subhash Pathak
Hindustant Times, Patna
anti-encroachment drive,Patna clash,Rajeev Nagar land dispute
One of the JCB machines that was set on fire by an irate mob in Patna on Tuesday. (HT photo)

More than 20 persons were injured when an irate mob clashed with police during an anti-encroachment drive at Ghurdaur Road in Rajeev Nagar locality of Patna on Tuesday.

The trouble started when a team of district administration and police reached the colony to demolish illegal constructions on the land acquired by the Bihar State Housing Board (BSHB) in the 1970s.

As soon as the team began demolishing illegal constructions, one of them belonging to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Achal Singh, the mob started pelting stones on the police, which was largely unprepared for such an organised retaliation. At least eight policemen, including Digha police station SHO Rajiv Dubey, were injured in the attack.

The situation deteriorated after the mob set on fire three JCB machines and a police vehicle and blocked the Danapur-Digha main road by placing burning tyres.

Enraged over the anti-encroachment drive, angry people blocked the Danapur-Digha road in Patna. (HT photo)

With the situation going out of control, the police had to make a retreat.

Eyewitnesses claimed that both the sides also exchanged fire. “Over 50 rounds were fired, creating panic in the area,” said the locals. The police said they had to open fire in self-defence. They also claimed that the anti-encroachment drive was being carried put on the orders of the Patna high court.

DIG (central range) Rajesh Kumar said a team comprising the additional district magistrate, deputy collector of land reforms (DCLR) and housing board officials had gone to Rajeev Nagar to remove encroachments, but there was heavy stone pelting, causing injury to many police officials. “A detailed inquiry will be conducted into the entire incident,” he added.

The irate mob also set on fire a police vehicle. (HT photo)

The dispute in Rajiv Nagar is quite old and in the past also attempts by the district administration had met with dharna and protests. The BSHB had in 1974 decided to acquire 1054 acres of land in the present Rajeev Nagar for the proposed Digha Housing Colony. After acquisition of the land, the BSHB invited applications for giving plots and about 12,000 persons applied for it by submitting the requisite amount. In course of time, a private co-operative society, having purchased land from farmers, allotted them to its members who constructed their houses. However, they still do not have absolute right on the plots.

To resolve the dispute, the Bihar government enacted a law on April 20, 2010. The state cabinet subsequently approved the Digha Land Acquisition Settlement Rules and Scheme 2014, fixing the rate to settle the disputed lands, but the landowners were not convinced and maintained that their land had not been acquired by the government. Those who have already constructed houses on the disputed plots are also not ready to pay to the government as per the prevailing MVR rate.

“The administration swings into action only when the situation gets out of hand. Why did they allow constructions to go on the encroached land. Had they acted on time, things could not have reached such a pass,” said the locals, blaming the administration for conniving with encroaches and harassing the house owners.

First Published: Sep 05, 2017 15:31 IST