Maharashtra govt orders probe in Pune firing
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 10, 2011, 21:01
Mumbai/Pune: A probe by a retired high court judge was ordered on Wednesday by the Maharashtra government into the police firing in which three farmers were killed during violent protests in Pune district, as the incident rocked both Houses of the Maharashtra Legislature.

Replying to a debate on the issue raised through an adjournment motion in the Assembly, Home Minister R R Patil said the probe would cover whether there was an excessive use of force by the police and if the Opposition parties had instigated farmers to resort to violence.

He said the probe report would be submitted in three months.

In a bid to defuse the situation after police firing and violence in Maval near Pune yesterday, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said he has asked the district collector to halt the work on the pipeline from Pavna dam.

Pune District Collector Vikas Deshmukh told PTI that he had "orally" advised the Commissioner of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to suspend work on Pavna river dam pipeline project.

Official sources in Pune said the situation is peaceful and under control.

District collector Vikas Deshmukh earlier told PTI a magisterial inquiry had been ordered into the firing in which three farmers were killed and one seriously injured.

He clarified that the number of dead in the police firing so far was three and not four as reported earlier and one of the seriously injured was being treated at a hospital at Talegaon.

The farmers were protesting against release of Pavana dam water for a drinking water project in the industrial township of Pimpri-Chinchwad, whose civic body is controlled by Ajit Pawar.

The Assembly witnessed uproarious scenes over the police firing with the opposition members stalling proceedings and demanding immediate discussion on the issue.

Opposition members shouted slogans against the goverment calling it a "murderer".

Dissatisfied with Patil's reply, the opposition members trooped into the well shouting slogans against the government.

Sanjay Begde (BJP) climbed onto the podium and lifted Speaker's mace following which Speaker Dilip Walse Patil adjourned the House for 15 minutes amid uproarious scenes.

The House was once again adjourned for 15 minutes as the opposition members continued their slogan shouting against the government.

Earlier, Patil told the Assembly he had asked the local superintendent of police to view the video footage of police officials damaging vehicles of the protesters.

"I have directed that the concerned officials be identified and immediately suspended. Such action was unwarranted," the home minister added.

Terming the police firing "unfortunate", Patil said adequate police bandobast was maintained in Maval but the protesters wanted to stop traffic on the expressway to garner more attention and resorted to violence.

After three adjournments in the Assembly, the debate finally began with Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse initiating it. He demanded a judicial probe into the incident and compensation of Rs five lakh for the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured along with free medical treatment. He also accused police of damaging vehicles of protesters.

In the Legislative Council, Pawar announced that government jobs would be given to the next of the kin of those killed. The government would take a decision on the issue of compensation soon, he said.

"I have asked the district collector to halt the work (on the pipeline from Pavna dam) there," he said. The Deputy Chief Minister also alleged that the Opposition was politicising the issue.

A high-level meeting would be convened at Mantralaya within eight days to discuss the issue, Pawar said.

Pawar visited the injured in hospitals to inquire about their condition.


First Published: Wednesday, August 10, 2011, 19:07

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