Greater Noida/Lucknow, May 7: Two policemen were among three persons killed and District Magistrate Deepak Agarwal got a bullet injury in fierce clashes that broke out in Greater Noida today between security personnel and agitating farmers holding three roadways employees hostage.
Scores of people including an SSP were also injured when the agitation by the farmers demanding better compensation for their acquired land turned violent in Bhatta Parsaul village in Gautam Buddha Nagar district, a Delhi suburb.
The agitating farmers alleged that a protester, who was found dead, was killed in police firing after villagers and security personnel fought pitched battles for several hours.
The three employees of the state-run UP roadways held hostage since yesterday were rescued by the security personnel, police said.
“Two constables were killed, when protesters fired heavily on the police team, which had gone to rescue three employees of UPSRTC held hostage since yesterday,” Director General of Police Karamveer Singh told reporters in Lucknow.
He said a body of an unidentified man with country-made fire-arms and cartridges was later recovered in the field and it was yet to be ascertained under what circumstances he died.
Agarwal, who went to the village hoping to resolve the hostage crisis through talks, suffered a bullet injury and was rushed to Kailash hospital in adjacent NOIDA where he was operated upon, police said. Officials said Agarwal's condition was stable.
“Three employees of UPSRTC - driver Deependra and two supervisors Dugesh Bharadwaj and Niranjan Singh—were held captive by the villagers when they had gone for survey work(for a new bus route) yesterday,” the DGP said.
The DGP said the situation was now under control and 15 to 20 people have been arrested.
He said the protestors were led by Manveer Singh Tewatia, who he alleged incited the mob for his vested political interest.
“He was misleading people and trying to create dispute when none actually existed,” he alleged.
Singh said that after overnight efforts to appease the protesters to get the captives released, it was decided to rescue them at all cost.
“A huge contingent of police led by divisional commissioner and IG Meerut, DM and SSP Gautam Buddha Nagar reached the site where protestors were staging dharna and initiated action,” he said.
The DGP said that the protestors, who initially dispersed, started firing from the village in which the two constables Manveer Singh and Manohar Singh were killed.
“District magistrate Deepak sustained bullet injury, whereas SSP sustained injuries from the stones pelted by the protestors,” he said, adding that six personnel were also injured in the attack.
Trouble broke out when a large contingent of police, Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and anti-riot personnel along with district officials descended on the village to rescue the three abducted men.
However, the farmers, armed with sticks, allegedly attacked the personnel and pelted stones. Police lobbed teargas shells to quell the mob and soon there was firing from both sides, sources said.
Two jawans of the PAC were declared brought dead at Kailash Hospital. Doctors said they had bullet wounds.
“Tewatia escaped from the spot immediately after police action started and efforts are being made to arrest him,” Singh said.
Singh said Tewatia, who has floated an organisation, was camping in the area from the last two to three months.
“He was spreading anarchy in the area and there was information that his group of 50 to 100 youths were having illegal arms,” he said.
Asked about demands of the agitating farmers,the DGP said that whatever the demands existed were met from time to time.
“99 per cent problems of the farmers related to compensation and land acquisition were attend to and Tewatia was misleading and inciting a small group,” he said.
He said that spark for the latest clashes was provided by the planned bus route that passed through the centre of the village. “The exercise to open the route was undertaken on the demand of the villagers itself,” he claimed.
The DGP said that police worked on the principle of minimum use of force and their action was resultant of violence by the protesters.
Blaming the Mayawati government for the violence, the opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh alleged that it was indulging in “loot of farmers' land” and that the incident reflected the anarchy that prevailed in the state.
“In the home district of Mayawati, farmers are being shot dead. Farmers' land is being acquired at throw away prices,” UPPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
“It is government of looters and land acquisition has become their favourite pastime. People have lost their confidence in Mayawati,” she said.
Supporting the agitating farmers, the BJP accused the UP government of suppressing democratic movements.
“Whatever happened... it is an example that the law and order situation has crumbled in Uttar Pradesh. It is an anarchy,” a BJP spokesperson said.
The farmers have been agitating since January 17 for better compensation for their land acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government.
Meanwhile, the Jaypee Group today denied reports that the ongoing farmers' agitation in the city is related to any of their projects, including Yamuna Expressway and Formula One Motor Racing track developed at Dankaur near Greater Noida.
Chief Minister Mayawati has announced an addititional financial help of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of two constables killed in the incident, besides speedy disbursal of their dues,” Singh said.
Condemning police action and terming it as brutal, SP state president Akhilesh Yadav alleged that Mayawati government was insensitive. PTI