This Article is From Oct 05, 2016

Protests In Jharkhand After 4 Die In Police Firing Over Land Acquisition

4 were killed and several injured after clashes between over a NTPC project in Jharkhand (PTI)

Hazaribagh: A village in Jharkhand remained cut-off on Tuesday after a clash between protesters and police claimed four lives over the weekend.

The unrest flared over land acquisition by the National Thermal Power Corporation - 8,000 acres across 28 villages - and four villagers had died in police firing at Hazaribagh's Dandi Kala village.  

All routes to the village remained barricaded and prohibitory orders were imposed. Political leaders -- including former chief minister Babulal Marandi, current union Minister Jayant Sinha and Hemant Soren - were advised against visiting villages in the area.

It all began when police arrested Nirmala Devi, a Congress legislator from Barkagaon, who was leading a protest against the compensation paid to villagers for land being acquired by NTPC for a mining project.

The police said they were forced to open fire in self-defence after a mob hit the streets protesting Nirmala Devi's arrest.

Senior police officer MS Bhatia told reporters that his men suffered injuries during the protest as villagers targeted them. "Villagers kidnapped Additional SP (Operations) Kuldeep and the Circle Officer of Barkagaon, and badly assaulted them after taking them to the nearby fields. Two police officers were injured. They only opened fire in self-defence," Mr Bhatia said.

The locals claim they were merely questioning the conditions under which Nirmala Devi was being arrested.

A local supporter of Nirmala Devi, Mantu said, "There were no water cannons, no rubber bullets. The commanding officer gave orders to fire and it was all very quick, leading to a chaos. They were also firing above the waist as if they were shooting to kill."

Nirmala Devi and her husband Yogendra Sao had been leading the protests since September 15, after their lands were acquired by NTPC.

They were demanding the suspension of mining in the Barkagaon area.

The compensation paid to the villagers was also an issue. Earlier, the villagers say, NTPC had agreed to pay them Rs 20 lakh per acre but they now they want that the rate of the compensation be raised according to the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013. The villagers also want all cases against protesting villagers to be dropped.