Rewari (Har): Villagers opposing land acquisition today clashed with police, torched several vehicles and blocked Delhi-Jaipur National Highway as cops opened fire to quell the mob in village Asalwas here.
The protesters, who were opposing acquisition of 3,300 acres of land in 16 villages for setting up of an industrial estate by HSIIDC, turned violent during a mahapanchayat, 90 km from the national capital, police sources said, adding at least 20 persons were injured in the violence
Police which had been deployed there used tear gas shells and fired in air to disperse the protesters. As a farmer suffered a bullet injury in police action, the protesters went on a rampage, torching three Haryana Roadways buses, one belonging to the Rajsthan Roadways, a fire brigade vehicle and a police motorcycle besides damaging other vehicles and held a few cops hostage briefly, they said.
Passengers of the buses, which had been burnt, had alighted and were safe, Rewari Deputy Commissioner C G Rajinikanthan told PTI, adding that police personnel were also among those injured.
Five companies (100 personnel each) of central forces had been rushed to the spot to maintain law and order, officials said.
The incident occurred when some youths tried to block the highway and allegedly pelted stones at the cops who were deployed in view of a mahapanchayat under the aegis of the villagers` Sangarsh Samiti that had been going on since morning.
The Mahapanchayat was almost near its completion in the afternoon when the incident occurred, Rajinikanthan said.
While a farmer sustained bullet injury in the stomach and was rushed to a hospital, another person was admitted with a splinter injury.
The Delhi-Jaipur highway was blocked by protesters who were squating on the road and senior officials of the government were making efforts to restore traffic, which had been diverted to other routes.
The DC claimed that "outsiders" and vested interests were fanning trouble in the area.
State BJP leaders including Ram Bilas Sharma were also present at the Mahapanchayat to express their solidarity with the villagers.
A chunk of the land being acquired falls along the national highway and belongs to the Gujjar community, who are resisting government`s move.
The villagers are demanding that the process to acquire their land be stalled till the enactment of a central law on land acquisition.
Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said that the law and order will be maintained at all costs and appealed to the people to maintain peace.