Farmers' stir turns violent in Thane

Farmers' stir turns violent in Thane

Farmers' stir turns violent in Thane
At least 20 people were injured, including several policemen, when a farmers’ agitation turned violent in Maharashtra on Thursday.

The farmers, protesting the ownership and possession of a World War II airstrip at Naveli in Thane district, torched six vehicles, burnt tyres and stoned police teams. Retaliating, the police fired pellets to quell the mob.  Protests erupted after the Indian Navy constructed a boundary wall around the area of the now defunct airstrip. The state government has plans to build a third airport in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and this airstrip is under consideration for boosting regional connectivity. Naveli is around 60 km from Mumbai.

Around 9 am, hundreds of locals from seven to eight villages assembled and blocked the Thane-Belapur Road, affecting traffic to and from the satellite township of Navi Mumbai. Vehicular movement on the main road leading to Malanggadh and Badlapur-Ambernath Road were also affected. The mob turned their ire on the police and started pelting stones at the personnel and passing vehicles.

The police were forced to strike back, causing the situation to take a violent turn. Twelve policemen, including an assistant commissioner of police, were injured in the protests. Besides this, six to eight villagers were injured in the baton-charge.

The injured policemen have been admitted to a hospital in Thane. “Peace has been restored… the Riot Control Police is stationed at the spot,” said Thane Police Commissioner Parambir Singh. He said they have identified some of those who instigated the mob, and they would be booked for attempt to murder.

Public Works Minister Eknath Shinde, who is also the Guardian Minister of Thane, apprised Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the situation. Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre has called a meeting in New Delhi next week to discuss the issue.

“We have called a meeting, and there would be representatives from all stakeholders,” Bhamre said.
Earlier this month, the farmers had moved the Bombay High Court, challenging the acquisition of the over 1,600-acre land by the Ministry of Defence for an airport requisitioned during World War II.

Land is ours: navy

The navy clarified that the land belongs to the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy, and figures in the land records, reports DHNS from Mumbai.

“The land in reference is owned by the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy, and the state government land records certify the same. The navy is constructing a peripheral boundary wall to protect and safeguard the defence land from further encroachment,” Western Naval Command spokesperson Commander Rahul Sinha said.
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