Gujarat police on Sunday launched a crackdown against thousands of farmers, who were protesting against a proposed coal plant in Gujarat's Bhavnagar district.
At least 10 farmers injured during the clashes and as much as 50 cultivators were detained by the police. The farmers alleged that the police manhandled the protesters, including women and children.
They were protesting against a state-owned company Gujarat Power Corporation Limited that had acquired 3,377 acres of land from nearly 1,250 farmers across 12 villages of Bhavnagar about two decades ago, to set up a brown coal plant.
However, the company could not start the work for about 2 decades and all these years the farmers were cultivating the area.
The farmers have now been opposing the company’s bid to take possession of the acquired land.
“The company had sought police protection for its task to take the possession of the land when the clash erupted,” Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police Dipankar Trivedi said.
“We detained around 50 people and fired about 50 teargas shells, and also baton-charged the protesters near Badi village,” he said.
Narendrasinh Gohil, a local farmer leader and member of Gujarat Khedut Samaj, a cultivators’ body, claimed that the farmers were carrying out a peaceful protest when the police crackdown took place.
“As we carried out a peaceful protest march against the company’s move to take possession of our land, a large number of policemen were deployed to prevent us. The farmers and their families, including women and children, came out in thousands to protest this (taking over possession of land),” he said.
The police manhandled protesters, including women and children, and in the process, at least five persons were injured, alleged Gohil.
At least 10 out of the 50 protesters detained by the police were women, he claimed.
The protesters have demanded the company to initiate fresh proceedings to acquire the contentious land as per the Land Acquisition Act-2013.
(With inputs from agencies)