Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dozens injured in anti-Jindal violence in Chhattisgarh

Raipur : Heavy police deployment has been made Sunday in tension-hit rural areas of Chhattisgarh's Raigarh district following Saturday's clash between the police and people during a public hearing for Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL).

At least 50 people, including 15 policemen, were injured Saturday when a crowd of over 1,000 people, mainly poor farmers, turned violent during the public hearing for JSPL at Khamaria village, 275 km northeast of capital Raipur.

The people were enraged when the JSPL officials in the presence of the police and district administration officials asked the people to hand over their lands to the company for coal mining in order to feed its power plant. JSPL has 1,000 mw coal-fired power plant at Tamnar in the same district.

"The crowd turned violent after hearing the JSPL proposal and began pelting stones at the police," R.P. Sai, Additional Superintendent of police, told reporters Sunday here.

"Dozens of farmers and 15 policemen have been injured in the clash. Police presence has been boosted after the clash in Tamnar areas and also in the nearby villages from where the farmers came in to attend the public hearing," Sai said.

Local police officials said at least 50 farmers were injured in police baton charge and admitted to a hospital at Tamnar. Eight of them were said to be in critical condition.

A.K. Mukherjee, JSPL's executive director, Sunday said, "The company is committed to welfare, development, employment generation and civil infrastructure build up of not only the coal-rich villages but also the entire Raigarh district."

As a retaliation to Saturday's police baton charge, farmers of a large rural stretch of Raigarh district have blocked road traffic at several places in the district since Sunday morning.

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