Flare-up over land in Noida leaves 3 men dead

first_imgThe Noida district administration’s effort to rescue three officials held hostage by agitating farmers turned violent on Saturday, with the district magistrate being wounded and three people losing their lives in the crossfire.At least one farmer and two Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) men were killed in the firing that lasted nearly six hours at Bhatta Parsaul village in Greater Noida.About two-dozen farmers and an equal number of PAC men were wounded. Unofficial sources, however, put the death toll of farmers at four.Top district administration officials, along with a convoy of PAC personnel, reached the site of the farmers’ protest around 2 pm and sought the release of three UP State Road Transport Corporation staff held hostage by the villagers since Friday evening.The three – supervisor Niranjan Das, station in-charge Durgesh Jha and driver Jitendra were taken hostage when they went there to survey the route for a proposed bus service.When the farmers refused to release the hostages, the PAC resorted to lathicharge. The farmers retaliated by pelting stones on the PAC and officials.Consequently, the PAC personnel started firing indiscriminately.On seeing the protesters getting wounded, more villagers joined in and fired at the PAC with country- made pistols.Earlier, the farmers had planned dig up the Formula 1 racing site of Jaypee Sports Company.District magistrate Deepak Aggarwal was struck by a bullet his leg, while SSP Surya Pratap Singh encountered a volley of stones and sustained injuries.Both were admitted to hospital. We were willing to talk to them but they gave us no other option. The DM used foul language and said the authorities will destroy the village within 24 hours,” said Harish Singh, a Bhatta Parsaul resident.advertisementThe police said they were trying to contact the village leaders hold talks but most of them had switched off their phones.Senior police officers said the villagers were demanding that chief minister Mayawati come to the spot and hear their grievances.The PAC set ablaze the tents and vehicles parked at the protest site. Later, they also set some houses on fire.Villagers alleged that the PAC men later entered their houses and assaulted women and children.”They entered our house and started beating us up. They also pushed us out of our houses,” Nirmala Devi, a villager, said.Half of the village, especially young men, remained outside the village till late evening. The PAC men also assaulted journalists who tried to enter the village.DGP Karamvir Singh blamed the violence on a small group of miscreants. “A very small group led by Manvir Tewatiya is behind the incident. Earlier also, they had taken government employees hostage to fulfill political ambitions of certain people,” Singh said at a press conference in Lucknow.Singh also claimed that the unrest was not because of land acquisition. “The Tewatiya’s gang took the officials hostage and instigated the villagers to attack the PAC,” Singh said.(With Rajat Rai in Lucknow)last_img

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