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Maharashtra farmers’ protest against airbase: Day after clashes, peace prevails at Nevali

Mumbai city news: Messages about firing by police, and vandalising of vehicles and doors of houses in Chinchavli village were doing the rounds on social media on Friday morning.

mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2017 16:21 IST
Sajana Nambiar
Sajana Nambiar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Maharshtra farmers' protest,violent clashes Maharashtra
(HT Photo)

A day after hundreds of angry farmers clashed with police over the construction of a defence airport in Kalyan’s Nevali village, the situation there appears to have settled down. A few police vans are still parked at the Nevali naka, where the violence had started on Thursday morning.

Messages about firing by police, and vandalising of vehicles and doors of houses in Chinchavli village were doing the rounds on social media on Friday morning. This led to fear among the residents, many of whom chose to stay inside their house till they realised it was a rumour.

“I received a message stating that the police is randomly firing in the village and also vandalizing the doors and vehicles in the village. It caused fear among many of us. I checked with my sources and realised that it was just a hoax,” said Hemant Bhal, a resident of Bhal village.

He further said that the atmosphere in the village remains tense, as 12 villagers are in the hospital. “The list of injured people includes two children, and this has led to panic among the villagers. We cannot hold any meetings or discussion unless they safely reach the village. However, we have learnt from the government representative that they will hold a meeting by next week and find some solution to it,” added Bhal.

Deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Sunil Bharadwaj, has appealed to the villagers to not believe in the rumours being spread. “The messages are wrong, and people should not believe in it,” said Bharadwaj.

Meanwhile, leader of Opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, visted the injured residents of Nevali village at Kalyan Hospital.

He slammed the government saying, “The government has neglected the Nevali farmers’ issue. There is a need to investigate the incident. Proper communication between the farmers and government would have solved the issue. I will raise this issue in the monsoon session of parliament.

On Thursday, hundreds of angry farmers, protesting against a proposed defence airport on the outskirts of the city, held up traffic, clashed with police and burned down four police vehicles. Around 15 policemen, 12 protestors and two media persons were injured.

Two of the protestors, who were severely injured, were shifted to Thane. Two police stations (Manpada police station and Hill line police station) lodged six cases against more than 500 villagers for attempt to murder, assaulting police on duty, riot and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Local resentment had been building against plans to turn an abandoned World War II airbase into a defence airport at Nevali, about 45km northeast of Mumbai. But Thursday’s protests took an unexpected turn, after farmers whose land had been acquired for the project attacked police personnel.

Defence officials released a statement. “The land in reference is owned by the ministry of defence/ Indian Navy and the state government land records certify the same,” commander Rahul Sinha, chief public relations officer (defence), said in a statement.

First Published: Jun 23, 2017 14:20 IST