Villagers clash with cops over Army’s closure of Bopkhel Road

Police resort to lathi charge and use of tear gas to disperse mob; 22 cops and 15 villagers injured.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published: May 22, 2015 3:01 am
Bopkhel Road, pune police, pune cop, CME, agitation, public agitation, lathi charge, pune news, city news, local news, Pune newsline, Indian Express The mob pelted stones, bricks and broken glass at the police, and damaged police vehicles, including two cars and a bus, at Bopkhel on Thursday. (Source: Express Photo by Rajesh Stephan)

The issue of the closure of Bopkhel Road by the College of Military Engineering (CME) took a violent turn on Thursday as the villagers pelted stones and bricks during an agitation and police had to resort to lathi charge and use of tear gas to control the mob. At least 22 police personnel and 15 villagers were injured in the incident.

On May 13, The CME had closed the road connecting Bopkhel to Dapodi Road after the High Court ruled in favour of the institute in a petition filed against the closure of the road. Due to the road being closed, residents of Bopkhel area have to travel at least half an hour more on the alternate routes. A dispute over the closure of the road that connects Bopkhel village to Mumbai-Pune highway in Dapodi has been going on between the Defence authorities and villagers for the past 15 years.

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The issue took a violent turn on Thursday after a large number of villagers gathered at the closed gate to stage a protest. The defence authorities had informed the police, following which local police were deployed at the spot. As police kept making repeated appeals to people to maintain peace during the protest, around noon, the villagers tried to break open the door and after police resisted they started pelting stones, bricks and broken glass at them. The mob damaged police vehicles, including two cars and a bus.

Appeals by MLA Gautam Chabukswar, PCMC commissioner Rajiv Jadhav and senior police officer to maintain peace were in vain and the mob continued to pelt stones.

Deputy commissioner of police (Zone III) Basavraj Teli said, “We had to resort to lathi charge and fire tear gas shells after the mob turned extremely violent. At least 22 police personnel and 15 villagers sustained injuries. The situation was brought under control in the evening.”

A CME press release issued through the Defence PRO said, “All the facts regarding availability of access, land records and security-related implications of the Defence forces were considered by the High Court, after which an order was passed on April 21, inter-alia stating that ‘no road be constructed or no right of way can be granted to anyone to pass through the land in possession of CME and access through CME by public will compromise its security.’ In accordance with the policy of MoD on the subject and in compliance with the order passed by the HC, the road was closed to general public on May 13. The same notwithstanding, public is being allowed to use the roads in case of emergencies (medical, etc) on humanitarian grounds.”

A CME officer said, “We had informed the local police and they handled the situation well. None of our men was injured nor did we have to use any force.”

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  1. Gudipati Devadanam
    May 23, 2015 at 7:06 pm
    I do stay at Ramnagar (Bopkhel). And would like to say that after blocking Bopkhel to Dapodi rd it is very difficult to commute west side of pune for us. Today I was to go to meet my client to Baner and I have to go all the way from bhosari 40kms earlier from bopkhel-Dapodi rd it was around 20kms. its patthatick. Pls do something for this. We civilians are facing lots of problems. God know what will happen when students studing at KV CME and dapodi schools will start, do they have to go from khadki or bhosari. Some people staying at here are having ry not more than 5000/-, now from bopkhel to dapodi via khadki is Rs50 charged daily, what will happen to them. Plz Government do something. I request to find out solution as soon as possible. Gudipati Devadanam
    1. J
      Jaylaxmi Singh
      May 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm
      I reside at Ganeshnagar and the current situation is really pathetic here. Most of the people living at Ramnagar and Bhopkhel are unemplo and living at very low earnings. Road through CME was their only alternative to go for work daily at low cost). Now people have to pay about Rs. 200 just to reach Khadki. How could someone waste so much on travelling. It's literally shame on Army men who don't understand the problem of poor people. Till now i was so much proud of Indian Army. But after experiencing this incident i don't think i will respect any Army man hence forth.
      1. Kripashankar Shukla
        May 22, 2015 at 10:03 am
        Whether this is achhe din. Can we live in society. Access must b given to the villagers,since they have given land to cme and acessing road for six decade