GREATER NOIDA/LUCKNOW: Two policemen were among three persons killed and District Magistrate, Mr Deepak Agarwal got a bullet injury in fierce clashes that broke out in Greater Noida on Saturday between security personnel and agitating farmers holding three roadways employees hostage.
Scores of people including a Senior Superintendent of Police (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 protestor, 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 Friday were rescued by the security personnel, police said.
“Two constables were killed when protestors fired heavily on the police team, which had gone to rescue three employees of UPSRTC held hostage since yesterday,” Director General of Police, Mr 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.
Mr 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 Mr 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. Mr Singh said that after overnight efforts to appease the protestors 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.
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.
The farmers have been agitating since January 17 for better compensation for their land acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government. Meanwhile, the Jaypee Group Saturday 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.