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11 anti-Suktel protesters hurt in lathi-charge


OST Bureau
Balangir, Jan 22:

Eleven people were injured when police resorted to lathi-charge on them at Magurbeda village near the Lower Suktel project on Tuesday evening.

According to reports, hundreds of people, including women and school children, from the nearby villages led by the activists of Lower Suktel Budi Anchal Sangram Parishad arrived at Magurbeda in the morning to stage a dharna.

The armed police force deployed near the project site asked the Parishad members not to stage dharna as the district administration had clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Cr PC.
The villagers later staged the dharna near Pardhiapali village.

Later, another batch of demonstrators, who were released on PR bond by the police on Monday, arrived at the construction site. But they were sent away by the police after a discussion.
But they returned to the prohibited site in the afternoon and tried to stall the project work despite request by the police.

As the situation went out of control, police resorted to lathi-charge in which 11 people including four women and a child were injured.

The injured were later taken to sadar police station for interrogation.

Following information, district Superintendent of Police R Prakash rushed to the spot and had a discussion with sub collector Jyoti Ranjan Pradhan and SDPO Narayan Nayak.

Talking to newsmen later, the SDPO said that the police had to resort to lathi-charge as the demonstrators, while trying to move to the construction site, pelted stones at them in which some policemen were injured.

On the other hand, the agitating villagers told the media that they did not create any untoward incident.

“We had come here to demand compensation as per the Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) policy-2013. The police attacked us in a bid to suppress our legitimate demands”, they added.

Condemning the incident, the Budi Anchal Sangram Parishad has demanded that the state government should immediately intervene in the matter and make its stand clear on the project.