February 7, 2021 4:39:15 am
A day after an alleged clash with police during a drive against illegal sand mining in the Yamuna river, members of the Nishad community allegedly chased and threw stones at Nishad Party president Sanjay Nishad and BJP leader Piyush Ranjan Nishad, who visited Baswar village of Prayagraj district to talk to affected residents on Friday.
While police claimed that local residents attacked JCB machines to oppose the administrative action on Thursday, Piyush Ranjan Nishad alleged police brutality and said police personnel damaged 18 boats owned by the community.
A case for rioting, attempt to murder and illegal mining has been lodged against 10 identified and around 150 unidentified persons over the incident on Thursday.
However, Yamunapar Additional SP Saurabh Dixit denied that any boat was damaged in police action. He said there were around 150 boats loaded with sand and they probably collided with each other when left abandoned during police action.
Officials said the area saw sand mining for a long time but the same was prohibited in 2019. On Saturday, around 250 people protested to demand that sand mining be allowed but police said that decision has to be taken at a policy level.
Sources said the villagers who allegedly chased the two political leaders were agitated that they were not doing enough to get mining legalised.
“Organisations like the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) and Laal Salam are involved in illegal sand mining in the area. On Thursday… after regular complaints of illegal sand mining… the mined sand was put back in water. Coincidentally, all these people were from the Nishad community and because of that the said political leaders had come… When they went to the village, they did not find a very supportive audience,” Dixit said.
“For some strategic reasons, the police force was not there at the time. After coming out of the village, they put forward their demands at the behest of the Nishad community. They asked that sand mining should be allowed which is a totally illegal demand. For some time they also had blocked the road, but things were sorted out soon,” he said.
BJP leader Nishad said he will meet Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to look into the possibility of allowing sand mining in the area. He alleged that his visit would have been cordial but Samajwadi Party members and a few from Laal Salaam instigated the villagers. “They want to malign the image of our government,” he said. “Since Ramayan time, the Nishad community is working on the river and no animal was affected. But now after an FIR the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is saying that this is affecting turtles and crocodiles. The administration takes money from the big mining mafia and instead of acting against them, they trouble the poor fishermen.”
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said that by breaking the boats of the Nishad community, the BJP has hit them on their stomach and the government should offer an apology and compensate for their loss. “The UP government has made the Dial-100 facility useless and now they are targeting the poor as per their thoko policy,” tweeted Akhilesh.
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