Ranchi: At least four villagers were killed and more than 20 injured in police firing in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district on Saturday morning, an officer said.
“Prohibitory orders were imposed in area. The situation is under control. Additional forces were sent to spot,” said Inspector General Operation and Police spokesperson MS Bhatia.
According to Bhatia, the problem began when police took Congress legislator Nirmala Devi from Barkagaon in Hazaribagh into custody.
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She has been staging a protest at the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) plant gate for last few days.
“The NTPC was finding difficulties in taking heavy machines inside the work area. Police took custody of the Congress legislator. The villagers forcefully freed Nirmala Devi and abducted Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Circle Officer (CO) and thrashed them brutally. Additional reinforcement were sent. The aggressive villagers continued pelting stones on the police,” said Bhatia.
At least six policemen were critically injured and two police vehicles torched after which the police opened fire at the villagers.
The ASP was rushed to Ranchi for treatment.
The villagers supported by the opposition parties were protesting against land acquisition and low compensation amount by the NTPC.
Earlier, former Congress MLA of Barkagaon Yogendra Sao fought for the cause of the villagers and later his wife Nirmala Devi, now MLA, supported them.
The NTPC Barkagaon project is facing protest since 2004.
In 2010, coal mines in the area were allocated to the NTPC but work could not begin.
The entire opposition showing solidarity with the villagers had visited the Barkagaon in July this year.
The NTPC had lodged an FIR against former Chief Minister and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajantantrik (JVM-P) president Babulal Marandi, former central minister and Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay and others for entering into the mining area without permission.
Earlier in August, the opposition leaders had surrendered in the Hazaribagh court but the police refused to arrest them.
The issue was taken by Chief Minister Raghubar Das. Hazaribagh MP and central minister Jayant Sinha and former central minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha held meeting with the Chief Minister and villagers.
The opposition parties have condemned the firing.
Last month, two persons were killed in police firing in Ramgarh district during protests for land acquisition and proper compensation. The villagers were protesting against the Inland Power at Gola.