JITENDRA KUMAR SHRIVASTAVA-Purnea, Dec. 12: Several villagers and policemen were injured during a clash at Paroda when the men in uniform launched an anti-encroachment drive.
In a tense atmosphere, the police freed a contiguous land of 100 acres from the clutches of local people in the tribal-dominated village.
The men in khaki were camping at Paroda village under Krityanand Nagar police station of the district, about 365km northeast of Patna. “Over 50 houses of the villagers on the encroached area were set on fire. The personnel who got injured in the operation were admitted to Purnea sadar hospital, while wounded villagers were getting medical treatment at local level. Late in the afternoon, the villagers have stepped out of the encroached land,” said one of the local officials.
Villagers, mainly Santhals, had encroached an area of 100 acres on August 15, 2012. Since then, this land was in their possession and all efforts of the police proved futile.
A contiguous plot of 100 acres is partly owned by Purnea-based Milia Education Trust and partly by the state government.
Deputy inspector-general of police (Purnea) Paras Nath said: “The situation at Paroda is under control and the land has been freed from encroachment. In this operation, seven police personnel were hurt while six villagers also sustained injuries. All the injured are getting treatment at Purnea sadar hospital. We are camping at the site.”
Nath added: “The police did not set the houses on fire but we came to know that the villagers set their homes ablaze in protest. They also fired several rounds of bullets and we recovered used cartridges. In response, the police also retaliated.”
A villager said: “This is the first time when the police got success in getting the land free from encroachers without any death. But how long the land would be safe from the clutches of the villagers is doubtful.”
Trust director Arshad Imam said: “The credit of driving the encroachers out of my land goes to the police and district administration after 16 months’ of pleading. I wanted to construct a university, medical college, stadium and park at Paroda.”