DUMKA: Thousands of villagers armed with bows and arrows fought police after a rally to free four protesters arrested for opposing takeover of land for two power plants spun out of control in a Jharkhand block Sunday. One villager, identified as Sibram Soren of Saraikhani, was killed after the besieged cops opened fire. Three policemen...
DUMKA: Thousands of villagers armed with bows and arrows fought police after a rally to free four protesters arrested for opposing takeover of land for two power plants spun out of control in a Jharkhand block Sunday.
One villager, identified as Sibram Soren of Saraikhani, was killed after the besieged cops opened fire. Three policemen were injured in the clash that broke out sometime after 1.30 in the afternoon. Dumka police chief Arun Kumar Singh confirmed that three policemen had suffered injuries in the attack by the mob armed also with axes, rods and sickles. Three injured villagers are in police custody, Singh said. He also claimed that Maoists had taken shelter behind the mob led by the Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch, which has vowed to protect ancestral properties of villagers.
Nirmala Murmur, Leader of Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch said, “We will not allow the building of a power plant. We are ready to face police firings. Power plant can be built only over our dead bodies.”
Arun Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police of Dumka said, “Over two thousand armed protesters defied prohibitory orders and marched towards the Kathikund police station. Naxals hiding in the mob fired on the police.”
The Maoists were dictating the Ulgulan Manchs agitation from behind, as women and children were sent up front to clash with the police, resulting in arrow injuries to two police officers and a havildar.
The trouble broke out after villagers opposed to the proposed 1,000MW plants – one by CESC of the RPG Group and the other by the Jindals in tribal-dominated Kathikund and Shikaripara, both around 25km from district headquarters Dumka – gathered some 3km away from Kathikund police station.
The mob, which included women and children, threatened to court arrest if the police did not release Munni Hansdak, Charan Kumar, Hopna Baski and Rajcharan Murmu, all members of the Manch.
The villagers claim that Munni, a popular leader in the belt arrested along with the three others on November 26, had been falsely implicated by the police.
Manch workers and village heads had given a call for courting arrest in large numbers to protest the arrests.
But the mob erupted after the police asked the villagers to move to a road 3km away and court arrest there.
The seething villagers then attacked the police station. An arrow struck inspector Radha Mohan Sinha. Ramgarh police station officer-in-charge S. Abdesh Prasad Singh and havildar Suresh Ram were injured seriously.
Ram, whose chest was pierced by a dart, has been operated upon, a report said. The police fired 10 to 12 rounds to control the mob. They also used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the mob.
The injured villagers were identified as Saigrate Marandi, Ravan Soren, Sangram Hansdak, Lukhiram Tuddu and Vola Pal. All the injured, including the wounded policemen, were admitted to Dumka Sadar Hospital.