M A I N   N E W S

Trident Land Acquisition Row
35 farmers, 5 cops hurt in clash
Sushil Goyal and Prem Sharma
Tribune News Service

Barnala, January 31
At least 40 persons — 35 farmers and five policemen — were injured when the police used plastic bullets, teargas shells and resorted to lathi-charge to prevent farmers from entering the land acquired by the state government for the Trident Group here today.

The two sides clashed when farmers attempted to demolish the factory’s boundary wall and forcibly enter the 321 acres of land at Fatehgarh Chhanna and Dhaula villages. However, the police foiled the attempt.

The administration had deployed fire engines, riot-control and police vehicles and over 500 policemen, including mounted police, around the disputed land.

Besides, the police had set up 12 checkpoints at different places en route to the two villages from here. Agitated farmers attacked the police with sticks to gain access to the acquired land.

The conflict, which continued for about one and half hours, ended when farmer leaders asked the activists to return to a village gurdwara to hold a meeting there.

The farmers were led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) press secretary Hardip Singh Tallewal.

SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann also participated in the agitation.

He termed the police action brutal and announced that his party would thwart the process of possession of the land by the Trident Group.

He also sought an independent inquiry by an international agency, as they had no faith in inquiries by the judiciary or government agencies.

Earlier, over 1,000 farmers from various districts assembled at the village gurdwara in the morning. They were addressed by BKU (Ugrahan) state president Joginder Singh Ugrahan, press secretary Hardip Singh Tallewal, finance secretary Darshan Singh, BKU (Dakonda) general secretary Buta Singh Burj Gill, BKU (Ugrahan) Sangrur district secretary Darbara Singh Chhajla, among others.

The leaders criticised the state government for acquiring the land and SP (Headquarters) S.P.S. Parmar told the TNS that before the police took action, Tapa SDM J.P. Singh made an announcement to the farmers to refrain from coming within 200 yards of the boundary wall of the factory, as per the local court orders.

He also termed the assembly of the farmers illegal, adding that Section 144 of the CrPC was already in force in the area.

Mr Parmar added that when farmers did not pay heed to their warnings and continued marching closer to the boundary wall, the police fired teargas shells and resorted to lathi-charge.

The police used plastic bullets in self-defence, as farmers attacked them with sticks causing injuries to five policemen, he added.



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