Bhuvaneshwar Prasad -PURNIA: Nearly a dozen persons including eight policemen were injured in a ding-dong battle between hordes of tribals and policemen when the latter launched a campaign to dispossess the tribals who had forcibly occupied the 100 acre plot of the private Millia Educational Trust at Augustnagar under Krityanandnagar police station in Purnia district on Thursday. Among the policemen who received arrow shots was also additional superintendent of police (ASP) Rajiv Ranjan, police said.
As the police launched the campaign to evict the land from unauthorized occupation of tribals, both sides opened several rounds of fire. If the aggressive tribals hurled bombs, the policemen resorted to lathicharge and lobbed teargas shells. “No one was, however, injured in the cross-firing,” said Purnia Range DIG Parasnath, adding policemen themselves opened no less than eight-ten rounds of fire.
The injured policemen and tribals were immediately rushed to Purnia sadar hospital, police said. One of the injured tribals succumbed to injuries at the sadar hospital, sources said. This, however, could not be confirmed officially. Over half-a-dozen armed and muscle-flexing tribals have also been arrested, police said.
The policemen, summoned from four to five districts to control the situation, either bulldozed or set on fire hundreds of thatched as well as pucca structures the tribals had erected on the plot owned by Millia Education Trust. Most of the thatched hutments were reduced to ashes, sources said. The tribals had transgressed on the plot on August 15, 2012. Many steps to reoccupy the land had floundered placing the civil and police administration in Purnia in an awkward position, sources said.
As the armed tribals and equally determined policemen fought the pitched battle for hours, the Millia plot at Augustnagar, barely 10 km from Purnia, literally turned into a battlefield. The tribals were seen scampering for cover and like drowning men, tried to salvage as much property as they could when their hutments were bulldozed, sources said.
Purnia commissioner Pankaj Kumar, DIG Parasnath, DM Manish Kumar Verma and SP Ajit Kumar Satyarthy were supervising the operation at Augustnagar assisted by a huge number of policemen. Claiming that the operation had been an unqualified success, the Purnia commissioner said the tribals, who were forcibly occupying the 100 acre plot of Millia Educational Trust, had been finally evicted. He said the policemen, including the ASP Rajiv Ranjan, had received arrow injuries.
Meanwhile, Millia Education Trust director Mohd Imam heaved a sigh of relief as its land has now been cleared.
Earlier policemen had evicted the tribals from an 18-acre plot of land of Pragya Bihar Residential School at ward no 7 at Parora under Krityanandnagar PS on Wednesday.