A farmers protest against land acquisition in Thane turned violent on Thursday, with protesters clashing with police and setting their vehicles on fire. At least 12 policemen were injured in the violence. The farmers have been protesting against the government decision to build a wall around the periphery of an old British-era aerodrome. The 12,600-acre area was allegedly encroached by the locals over the years, news channel NDTV reported.
Demanding the MoD to give back their land, farmers from at least 17 villages were holding protests at 10 locations. The protesters also blocked traffic movement on the highway.
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According to the police commissioner of Thane, some protesters turned violent and injured the policemen. Some villagers attacked the police team and also the DCP, who then used pellet gun on them. Four villagers were also injured in the incident and are being treated at a hospital.
“The situation is normal now. Both curfew and Section 144 will not be imposed in the area,” the commissioner added.
The MoD, in a statement, said that the land was legally acquired by it and the Navy was constructing the peripheral wall to safeguard the land from encroachment. “The Maharashtra State Govt is fully aware of the subject case and is providing police protection and support from state/ district administration and revenue authorities,” Commander Rahul Sinha, Chief Public Relations Officer of MoD, said in the statement.
The state government had some years back started acquiring land in the area to set up the proposed airport which the farmers have been opposing. However, their protest turned violent today as the farmers started agitating simultaneously at several places near Nevali, located about 50 kms away from adjoining Mumbai.
Policemen also fired plastic bullets at the protesters to disperse them, police said. The protesters blocked the Kalyan-Haji Malang road in the area by throwing burning tyres and wooden blocks on it. They also torched a police van, three trucks, two bikes and a tempo in the area, the official said.
with PTI inputs