Three killed in farmers-police gunbattle, clashes (Second Lead)

May 7th, 2011 - 11:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Greater Noida, May 7 (IANS) Two policemen and a farmer were killed and about 15 people were critically injured here Saturday as rioting farmers, who held government employees hostages while protesting land acquisition, and Uttar Pradesh police exchanged gunfire.

Deepak Agarwal, district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar, was among those injured in the cross-firing. He was immediately rushed to Kailash Hospital in Noida where his condition was stated to be out of danger.

Clashes and the exchange of gunfire erupted during a police operation to rescue three Uttar Pradesh State Roadways bus employees whom farmers held hostage at Bhatta Parsol village for over 24 hours.

The toll of three was confirmed by the UP police chief, but the names of those killed were not revealed.

The farmers were demanding higher compensation for their lands acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government.

Agarwal rushed to the scene when the report of the hostage situation reached him. But he was caught in the middle of the clash and sustained bullet injury when the violent farmers targeted him.

He was rushed to the hospital.

Pitched battle ensued between the police armed constabulary, who had taken position outside the village, and farmers who took to the roofs of houses.

The roadways employees were rescued from the farmers’ custody.

About a dozen farmers also sustained gunshot injuries during the exchange of firing.

Police Director General Karamvir Singh said the farmers Friday took State Roadways supervisor Niranjan Dass, station in charge Durgesh Bhardwaj and driver Jitendra as hostages.

“The farmers refused to hand them over to the police. They tortured them severely. When the police and the civil administration officials reached Bhatta Parsol village, the farmers opened fire on them,” Singh said.

“In the absence of clear-cut orders from senior officers, the police force seemed to be in frustration and they did not spare even journalists,” a news reporter said.

According to Sub Divisional Magistrate Vishal Singh, the farmers were using illegally acquired firearms.

Earlier, the farmers had shot dead the security guard of Manvir Teotia and dumped his body by the side of the road near Gautam Budh University, he said.

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