Hazaribag (Jharkhand), Oct 10 (PTI) Several people were injured Sunday in alleged pelting of stones at law enforcers and subsequent police action on demonstrators who were on dharna in Hazaribag district since last week in support of their 31-point charter of demands, including compensation for damaged crops due to pollution caused by coal dust.
CPI leader B P Mehta claimed that over 24 villagers have been admitted to Hazaribag Medical College and Hospital after sustaining injuries in police lathi-charge while Superintendent of Police Manoj Ratan Chote said over 12 policemen were injured during heavy brick batting on the force.
Mehta, a former MP and Secretary of CPI Jharkhand State Council alleged that a police team led by Barkagaon Sub-Divisional Police Officer Amit Kumar Singh and Deputy Superintendent of Police (Composite Control Room ) Ariff Ekram resorted to lathi-charge to disperse a mob at the Banadag railway siding of NTPC.
The CPI leader claimed at a press conference that the police had also used water cannons and tear gas.
However, Superintendent of Police, Manoj Ratan Chothe, denied the allegation of lathi-charge but admitted that the police were forced to use water cannons and tear gas to disperse the mob following heavy brick-batting on the force.
Several police vehicles were also damaged in the incident, the SP said.
The former MP claimed said the incident took place at a time when he had fixed a meeting between the protestors and the district administration during the day to end the stalemate.
Mehta said he had met the Deputy Commissioner and the SP, who had agreed to hold a meeting with the villagers of Banadag and Kusumbha.
Condemning the police action, Mehta questioned what provoked them to use force when the agitators were staging peaceful dharna.
The SP did not mention the number of people arrested in this connection, while Mehta claimed about 17 persons have been detained.
The CPI leader also held local BJP MLA Manish Jaiswal responsible for the incident.
Jaiswal's son had bagged the contract of coal transportation in NTPC, which was affected due to the agitation, he alleged.
Mehta has apprised the Jharkhand Chief Secretary Sukhdeo Singh of the matter.
Meanwhile, Barkagaon MLA, Amba Prasad who rushed to the spot said she will take up the issue with Chief Minister Hemant Soren and demand action against erring officials.
Meanwhile, Hazaribag Deputy Commissioner Aditya Kumar Anand said the agitation has been withdrawn on Sunday evening after a five-member delegation of the 'Morcha' met him.
The administration gave an assurance that the authorities will look into their demands at the earliest, he said.