Nearly a dozen people were injured when labourers and villagers clashed over illegal sand mining in the early hours of Sunday in Madaripur village under Kareli police station area of Allahabad. While police have registered cross FIRs pertaining to rioting, causing injury and firing, no arrests have been made in the case so far. A complaint has also been registered by the administration for allegedly amassing mined sand without permission. Over 4,000 cubic metre of sand has been seized. Sources from the administration conceded illegal mining took place in the village the incident occurred in.
All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan , which is backing the sand miners, alleged that the laboureres had gone to the village to prevent illegal mining. But, violence started at the behest of Ram Lochan Yadav, brother of Pratappur’s Samajwadi Party MLA Vijma Yadav. “The workers had gone to stop illegal sand mining. But, instigation by Ram Lochan’s men led to violence,” said Raj Kumar Pathik, general secretary of the outfit. Interestingly, Ram Lochan has not been named in the FIR registered on the complaint of the sand miners. The administration too denied his role.
When contacted, MLA Vijma Yadav said: “My brother was never involved in this business. What is the point in blaming him?.” The workers have alleged that the mining mafia extorts more money than government-fixed royalties, besides illegally using machinery to excavate sand from riverbeds.
Police sources said the incident occurred around 5am. when hundreds of sand miners from various villages across the Yamuna reached Madaripur village on boats and attacked the house of one Bachcha Yadav.
The villagers resisted the attack leading to a pitched fight between the two groups. Bachcha Yadav’s two daughters-in-law, Bhanumati and Nirosa, sustained injuries in the skirmish. “His house was ransacked and vehicles damaged. It appeared that he was caught in the violence because his house was closest to the ghat. When we reached there, around 500 labourers and their supporters were present at the spot. At least four or five boats had returned to the other side,” said superintendent of police (city) Rajesh Yadav. The officer added that Bachcha’s neighbours — Ram Mani Yadav, Ram Narayan, Amarnath and Ram Sajeevan Yadav — also sustained injuries.
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Among the sand miners, Bhaiyya Lal Nishad, Radhey Shyam, Ghan Shyam, Krishnanand and Basvar were hurt. Nishad was admitted to Colvin hospital in the city, while others were taken to Jasra Community Health Centre across the Yamuna.
PAC and additional reinforcements from the local police had to be deployed to bring the situation under control.
Rajesh Yadav said that although both sides alleged firing, police did not come across any evidence in this regard.
Meanwhile, the sand workers have gone on strike and have warned of agitation if the administration did not allow them to take up mining work without being hassled by the mafia.
The FIR in connection to illegal amassing of sand was registered against one Kallu Yadav and Chhotu Yadav of Madaripur village. “They have been booked for amassing sand without licence,” said mining inspector Mehboob Ali. Additional district magistrate (administration) R N Gupta, said: “There was no mining lease for Madaripur. That is why the illegally mined sand was seized”. Gupta added that it was being investigated as to how long the illegal activity was going on in Madaripur.