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Day after farmers’ unrest near Mumbai, villagers say police vandalised homes, vehicles

Mumbai city news: Villagers at Nevali claim police on patrol duty damaged vehicles and windows of homes while women, children were asleep inside; police tell them not to believe rumours

mumbai Updated: Jun 30, 2017 23:59 IST
Sajana Nambiar
Sajana Nambiar
Hindustan Times
Farmer unrest,Farmer protest,Nevali
A vehicle damaged in Thursday’s protests on the road leading to Nevali near Mumbai

A day after angry farmers clashed with the police at Nevali village near Kalyan, residents of the village alleged that police personnel on patrol duty damaged their vehicles and broke windows of homes.

While the police maintain that these are “rumours” being spread by a few villagers, the residents claim CCTV cameras in the lanes captured the acts of vandalism by the police early on Friday. They said after they saw the damage to property, bikes and cars, they were scared to leave their homes.Shops stayed shut and children skipped school.

Residents, however, were gathering inside the narrow lanes discussing the incident that shook the village. On Thursday morning, hundreds of residents from seven villages in Nevali started protesting against a plan to build an airbase in the area. The villagers said the land on which the airbase would come was theirs and demanded that it be returned.

“The police vans came, some of them vandalised my bike, a water tank near my house and the window of the front room of my bungalow. I was not at home when this happened, but my wife and children were asleep inside. They are now too scared to step out of the house,” said Bholenath Bhoir, 27, a resident of Nevali village. Bhoir said the environment in the village was frightening as many of the men had left the village.

READ: 29 hurt as farmers, cops clash over airbase plan near Mumbai

“We have always protested silently. But if the police carry out such violence, we won’t keep quiet either.The windows of our houses were damaged, they banged on our doors while we were asleep. Who will pay for the losses?” said Kundal Vayale,40, a resident of Nevali pada. The police said teams were deployed at Nevali Naka through the day, and many officials were clearing the roads of the burnt police vans. “These allegations are baseless. I have asked the villagers not to believe any rumours. Some miscreants might have done it to create trouble for the police,” said Sunil Bharadwaj, the DCP.

But villagers said they have CCTV footage of police vans making rounds of the area. “We are sure the police vandalised our vehicles and homes. They are creating a tense environment,” said Bala Jadhav, 31 another resident of Nevali pada, whose house windows were broken. The CCTVs in the area have captured police vehicles making rounds around 3am on Friday.

BJP’s Jagannath Patil who visited the village said, “All of a sudden, villagers saw a boundary wall coming up around land that belongs to them, without any communication. The government is planning to conduct a meeting with the defence ministry.” Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil met the injured at Kalyan Hospital. “The government neglected the Nevali farmers’ issue. We need to investigate. There was no communication, which led to violence.” In a statement, commander Rahul Sinha, chief PRO (defence), said, “The land in reference is owned by ministry of defence/ Indian Navy and the state government land records certify the same.”

First Published: Jun 24, 2017 11:05 IST