November 6, 2020 11:56:23 am
Women, senior citizens and children staged a sit-in protest at Panchkula’s Rattewali village on Thursday, demanding cancellation of FIRs against 14 villagers who were arrested after a clash with police against licensed mining in their area. Locals also demand an audience with Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on the issue.
“We have lost our trust in the district administration and police. Vij is the only one we trust. We are ready to meet him at his residence or here, whichever is possible. We will do as he says,” said a villager.
The Panchkula police in this matter arrested another accused, identified as Balwinder Singh, a resident of Maheshpur, Sector 21.
Villagers have called the police crackdown a “witch hunt”.
“The sons of villages have been booked under a rail of sections for no reason at all. They have threatened us to continue arrests till we agree for the mining. We now just want the FIRs cancelled and our sons to return home with their dignity intact. As for mining, let it continue legally without the mining of any extra land,” said a woman who’s son has been named in an FIR participating in the protest.
On Tuesday, a clash had broken out between hundreds of villagers protesting against licensed mining at the Rattewali village of Barwala and district police.
At least 16 police personnel were injured, including three with serious head injuries.
At least 14 villagers were arrested under several sections including 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 147 (guilty of rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 188 (disobedience to order by public servant), 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), 307 (attempt to murder), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful confinement), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 379 (theft), 384 (extortion), 427 (mischief causing damage), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. They have also been booked under sections of the Arms Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
At least 34 more villagers were also booked in another FIR filed the same day by the contractor who had been awarded mining work in the area under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 308 (act which can cause death), 395 (dacoity), 435 (mischief by fire), 436 (use of explosive substance) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
With four of them in police remand so that police may “trace others who were a part of the conspiracy,” the villagers fear that “all men of the village will be rounded up sooner or later”.
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