Maharashtra opposition flays Pune police firing deaths

August 9th, 2011 - 11:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Mumbai, Aug 9 (IANS) The Maharashtra legislature witnessed uproarious scenes Tuesday as an angry opposition demanded a statement from the government on the police firing on a farmers’ rally in Pune district which left four protesters dead.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members Girish Mahajan and Sanjay Bhegade raised the matter, after which the opposition stalled proceedings, demanding a statement on the incident from the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance government.

Minister of State for Home Satej Patil informed the house that a statement would be made later in the evening.

However, the opposition members were not satisfied and demanded that the house be adjourned till the statement was made and trooped into the well of the house, shouting slogans.

As the pandemonium continued and the opposition accused the government of killing innocent farmers who were agitating peacefully against land acquisition, the house was adjourned briefly by Deputy Speaker Vasant Purke.

When it re-assembled, state Home Minister R.R. Patil said that the farmers were demanding that the water from Pavna Dam in Maval sub-district should be utilised only for agriculture purposes and not for drinking purposes.

“The protesters turned violent and started pelting stones, attacking police personnel and setting ablaze police vehicles. Police had to resort to firing to control the mob,” he said.

Even as the opposition expressed dissatisfaction and sought a detailed statement, Patil said that the priority was to bring the situation under control and a detailed account would follow.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the legislative council and finally, both houses were adjourned for the day over the issue.

Reacting sharply to the developments, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said: “This (state) government is totally useless.”

Strongly condemning the incident, Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse said BJP leaders will visit Maval.

Three men and a woman were killed when police fired at thousands of farmers who blocked highways and turned violent to protest government takeover of their lands.

At least eight protesters and 35 police personnel were injured in the violence and protests that paralysed the old Mumbai-Pune highway and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

The farmers were protesting against land acquisition for laying a water pipeline between Pavna Dam in Maval sub-district to the outskirts of Pune city.

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