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Three killed in Navi Mumbai clashes, firing

Special Correspondent

Head load workers and villagers clash over alleged eve-teasing incident

MUMBAI: At least three persons died in group clashes and the police firing that followed in Navi Mumbai, the adjacent twin city of this metropolis on Thursday.

Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil told the State Assembly that two persons died in police firing that followed bursting of tear-gas shells and even cane charge as two groups clashed and rained stones on the police at Ghansoli village under the jurisdiction of Rabadi police station.

One person had died earlier in group clashes. Each group consisting of about 1,500 to 2,000 persons, were armed with sticks and rods.

Mr. Patil said that 35 to 40 police constables including some women constables were injured in stoning. At least five persons, including Police Inspector Sherkhan Pathan, were seriously injured. In all 70 persons suffered injuries.

On the outskirts of the village is a settlement of mathadi (head loaders) workers.

Trouble started on Wednesday during the Holi festivities following an alleged eve-teasing incident.

The groups clashed and several cars and makeshift shelters belonging to the mathadis were set afire. The police brought about some truce. But in the morning a group of about 1,500 mathadis, led by their union leader Narendra Annsaheb Patil, moved towards the village. About 2,000 villagers also came out.

Both the groups armed with sticks and rods clashed.

The police tried to intervene but in vain and soon became the target of stoning.

Mr. Patil said that the police had no option but to open fire. The State Reserve Police (SRP) has been deployed in strength and the situation was under total control.