MUMBAI/THANE: Over 25 people, including 12 policemen, 12 farmers and two journalists, were injured after farmers’ protests turned violent on Thursday over Nevali village land row on the outskirts of Mumbai.
The angry farmers also blocked the busy Kalyan-Haji Malang Road and set 10 vehicles on fire, including four police vans. To control the mob, police had to use pellet guns.
The farmers alleged that they were unhappy with the move of the ministry of defence (MoD) to take over 1,600 acres of land at Nevali village situated in Kalyan and Ambernath talukas of Thane district for a defence airport requisitioned during World War II.
The protests started on Thursday morning against India Navy’s move to construct a wall in Nevali. The protest turned violent as the farmers started agitating simultaneously at several places near Nevali, located about 50 kms away from adjoining Mumbai.
“The villagers had called for peaceful protest against Navy’s move of constructing wall but suddenly they went violent and started attacking policemen and setting vehicle on fire,” Param Bir Singh, Thane police commissioner said.
“It seems the attack was pre-planned and we are going to file a case of attempt to murder against them (protesters).”
To control the situation, 500 to 600 security personnel from Thane commissionerate have been deployed in the village, including local police, State Reserve police force, Riot Control Force and Quick Response Team.
Defence ministry’s reaction
“Land in reference is owned by the ministry of defence/ Indian Navy, and the state govt land records certify the same. The 7/12 extracts are held with Defence Estate Officer, Mumbai. The land was acquired by ministry of defence. The Navy is constructing a peripheral boundary wall to protect and safeguard defence land from further encroachment. The Maharashtra govt is fully aware of the subject case and is providing police protection and support from state/ district administration and revenue authorities,” said Commander Rahul Sinha, Chief Public Relations Officer (Defence), Mumbai.