Man still perched atop eucalyptus tree in Punjab

April 18th, 2011 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Zirakpur, April 18 (IANS) While the drama surrounding his ‘elevated’ protest continues, Avtar Singh Nagla refuses to budge. Sitting atop a eucalyptus tree the past four days, some 40-foot above the ground, this politician says only Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal can bring him down.

Avtar, in his late 30s, is demanding a fresh probe in a nearly four decades old land dispute.

Administration officials and policemen have been trying hard to persuade him to come down from his high perch, but he is adamant. His supporters have erected a tent near the tree and are supplying him eatables. They are also offering tea and snacks to people flocking to see him.

His wife has also joined the protest and has placed herself near the tree.

“The state government had given several acres of land here on lease to a paper mill company so as to provide employment to the villagers. But the mill owners sold the land to a property dealer at a very high price. I want a fresh probe into this and want that land back,” Avtar said.

However, administration officials claimed that the matter has been already resolved.

Punjab Police Sunday booked Avtar for hatching a conspiracy against a local businessman. Police have also arrested four people, including Avtar’s brother Nirmal Singh, after receiving a complaint from an official of Zirakpur-based Shipra company.

“Yes, we have booked Avtar for hatching a conspiracy. We have also arrested four people in the same case,” Yogi Raj, station house officer of Zirakpur, told IANS.

However, Avtar said it was an attempt to put pressure on him.

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