Maharashtra govt orders probe in Pune firing

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

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

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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