TAMIL NADU

Villagers uproot fence around ‘encroachment’

VENTING IRE: Members of farm workers’ associations removing the fence put up around the disputed land at Kumbakudi village in Tiruchi on Thursday.

VENTING IRE: Members of farm workers’ associations removing the fence put up around the disputed land at Kumbakudi village in Tiruchi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: M. Moorthy

R. Krishnamoorthy

TIRUCHI: Tension prevailed for over three hours at Kumbakudi near here on Thursday as several hundreds of villagers belonging to All India Agricultural Workers’ Union and other farmers’ associations defied police presence to uproot a fence put up around 65 acres of land under private occupation.

Assailing the Revenue Department for not having evicted the “encroachment” made on what they claimed as poromboke land for long, the agitators wanted the authorities to immediately establish the facts pertaining to the status of the land in dispute. They wanted the Revenue Department to distribute house pattas to the poor in the poromboke land as promised earlier by the authorities.

According to enquiries, the land was first purchased by a private engineering college, which, in turn, had subsequently sold the same to a realtor based at Mannaragudi. Trouble arose as a land developer to whom the realtor had sold a portion of the land had attempted to sell the same by apportioning it into plots. The agitators alleged that fake documents were used in the transactions.

Said to comprise residents of Kumbakudi and surrounding villages, the agitators led by CPI-Marxist party functionaries went about uprooting the fence even as a large group of supporters of the occupier of the land was waiting at a distance for an opportunity to attack them with deadly weapons.

Police personnel arrived in large numbers by then and chased them away. A total of about 175 agitators, including 40 women were arrested. The rest of the agitators dispersed after Revenue Divisional Officer V. Mallika and other senior officials visited the spot. Officials reportedly assured to carry out a fresh survey in a fortnight’s time. The arrested persons were released later in the day.

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