BHUBANESWAR, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Two people were killed and more than 30 injured when villagers protesting the loss of their homes to a power plant clashed with police in eastern India, in violence highlighting the disputed nature of land use in the country.
Police opened fire late on Monday in Gola in Jharkhand state after hundreds of villagers demanding more jobs and better compensation from Inland Power Ltd. threw stones and ransacked the company’s offices, a senior police official said.
“A meeting between the displaced persons and the management was going on when some people rushed into the premises and vandalized the property,” said Inspector General M.S. Bhatia.
“Some of them also fired at the police,” he said.Inland Power’s deputy general manager Sailendra Nath Sinha said the clashes were unrelated to any land issue. “We purchased and acquired lands by individual negotiations from the land owners,” Sinha told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that a few people with “vested interests” were responsible for the unrest.
Conflicts over land in India have increased as the world’s fastest growing large economy expands quickly and more land is sought for industrial use and development projects.
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