Pagar village residents were protesting start of work on mining and power project in spite of gram sabha decision not to part with land
One person was killed and four others injured on Tuesday when police opened fire on people protesting against land grab for the National Thermal Power Corporation or NTPC’s power and mining project at Chatti-Bariatu in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand, The incident took place at Pagar village under Keredari police station.
The person killed in the firing has been identified as Tarkershwar Mahto, 30. Two of the injured persons were referred to Rajendra Institute of Medical College Hospital, Ranchi, and the other two are being treated at the district hospital. The condition of one out of four injured persons is said to be serious.
The village residents reportedly continued with their sit-in protest with the body of the deceased person.
According to sources, the incident occurred when the village residents were sitting in protest as the company contractors tried to forcibly start work in the area in spite of the fact that the gram sabhas of affected villages are yet to agree to the project.
Ranchi based social activist, Gopinath Ghosh said that a resident, Pradip Singh, sold his half acre (0.2 hectare) land to NTPC. His decision was against the decision of the gram sabha (village council). When the contractor started the work at site on Tuesday afternoon, the residents rushed to the spot and opposed start of work. This led to an altercation.
“Without understanding the ground situation, Police opened fire” said Gopinath.
The villagers have been protesting against land acquisition since 2005. Deepak Das of people's front Karanpura Bachao Sangharsh Samiti said land belonging to 210 villages is proposed to be acquired for the NTPC project spread over 30,000 hectares.
The resolution passed by the gram sabha of Pagar village disallowed the company from undertaking any mining activity in the village, but the decision of the gram sabha was violated by the company and poses a threat to the livelihood of people.
It is the first incident of police firing in the state after formation of JMM-Congress government last week.
Jharkhand Mines Area Co-ordination Committee (JMACC) criticised the police action, alleging it occurred because of collusion of feudal people and NTPC.
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