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Sriganganagar women clash with police over raids

The incident took place after police raided the village to arrest 4 people accused of rioting during the clashes last week, reports Hitender Rao.

india Updated: Oct 21, 2006 01:32 IST

Farmers laid siege to the Rawla-Khanuwala road leading to 365 RD after a fracas between the police and women residents of 17 KD, a Bishnoi-dominated village, near Rawlaon early Saturday morning.

The incident took place after police raided the village to arrest four persons accused of rioting during the clashes last week.

An elderly woman Kalawatiof 17 KD suffered injuries in the chest after being hit by a teargas shell and a 15-year-old girl, Anuja, escaped with a minor head injury during the raids. Two police constables also suffered minor head injuries in the clash.

Angered at the raids conducted to nab the persons named in various FIRs, the peasants today axed tree trunks to block the road.

Carrying lathis and farm implements, they sat on a day-long dharna on the Khanuwala road and raised slogans against the Vasundhra Raje government. Ganganagar Deputy Commissioner KL Meena and Superintendent of Police Binita Thakur stayed put at Rawla for the entire day.

Later, Thakur said the womenfolk, armed with lathis, attacked a posse of cops, which had gone in search of the accused.

"Around 40 women attacked the police party with lathis and pelted stones. After exercising considerable restraint, we had to fire teargas shells to disperse them,'' she said.

The district police chief denied the reports of lathicharge by the police. Thakur said the incident was similar to the one at Sakhi village where the womenfolk attacked the cops a few days back.

"The men ran away to the fields and left it to the women to confront the police,'' she said.

In the evening, the district administration held talks with certain Left leaders of the area to try ease the situation. After a meeting with the district officials, the president of the 365 RD Vyapar Mandal, Comrade Jagdish Gaur, said it was decided that both sides would stay put at their respective locations for the time being.

"No final decision can be taken here as this is a larger issue. Our men have put a blockade to show the government that we are alive and kicking and the police have forced us to resort to such means,'' he said.

Jitender Bishnoi, a resident of 17 KD, alleged that the "crackdown" on the villagers was a planned one.

"If this is what they want, we will also ensure that the entire area comes to a standstill. Hum inka khana peena haram kar denge. We will block all the roads in and around Rawla,'' he threatened.

Vice-president of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, Shravan Kumar, who addressed the farmers at the Rawla-Khanuwala Road, asked them to stage a 'morcha' in the curfew-hit Rawla town.

However, his appeal did not find many takers as it was suggested that any further plan of action should be postponed till next week.

Meanwhile, the Excise Department seized around 19,000 litres of 'lahan' and 537 litres of illicit liquor and arrested two persons in this connection in the past four days. Bikaner's Divisional Commissioner Vinod Kapoor said distribution of illicit liquor was a contributory factor to the farmers' agitation.

"A large number of people, who clashed with police at Gharsana last week, were drunk. That's why it was necessary to check the sale of illicit liquor,'' he said.

First Published: Oct 21, 2006 01:32 IST