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Police, people clash over anti-encroachment drive in Patna

Police personnel use tear gas to disperse people during their protest against an anti-encroachment drive, at Nepali Nagar in Patna, on July 3, 2022.

Police personnel use tear gas to disperse people during their protest against an anti-encroachment drive, at Nepali Nagar in Patna, on July 3, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI 

Clashes broke out on Sunday between police and local residents of the Nepali Nagar area of Rajeev Nagar in Patna over an anti-encroachment drive, in which several policemen, including City Superintendent of Police (Central), Patna, were injured and over a dozen people arrested.

The clashes ensued when police reached Nepali Nagar, under the Rajeev Nagar police station, on Sunday morning with over 14 bulldozers to demolish nearly 90 illegal concrete houses allegedly constructed on government lands. The protesting local said, “If their structures were illegal, how could the government have provided electricity connection and collected municipal taxes from them regularly?” “Even concrete roads were laid in the area by the government,” they protested, while throwing stones at the police men.

The City Superintendent of Police (Patna Central) Ambrish Rahul was injured in the attack and seen with a bruised face. However, he told media persons that he got injured due to his own fault. Later, Patna Senior Superintendent of Police M.S. Dhillon and District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Singh reached the spot with heavy reinforcement of police personnel.

“Earlier, we had identified 40 acres of land for the anti-encroachment drive. When a team of police personnel and officials from other concerned departments reached the spot on Sunday morning, local people started pelting stones in which some policemen, including the City SP (Patna Central) got injured. The anti-encroachment drive will continue till the government land is encroachment-free,” stated Mr. Singh, adding, “over a dozen people have been arrested and police are in the process of identifying others who indulged in the clash.”

The police said that a month-and-a half ago, a notice was issued to about 90 illegal structures in the area but even after the notice, people had not vacated the area and were living there, blocking roads to stop officials from visiting them. “In fact, land mafias are involved in the area in buying and selling lands in this prime area of the capital city,” said District Magistrate Mr. Singh.

However, the locals said that several politicians, bureaucrats and other influential people have had their homes in the area and have been living there since the last several years “and the government has been providing all facilities in the area; even garbage collection by the municipality was being done regularly with a monthly charge”. “And suddenly they declare it illegal and came with rows of bulldozers to demolish our homes,” the protestors lamented.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 10:37:00 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/anti-encroachment-drive-in-patna-over-a-dozen-arrested/article65595802.ece