Suri: At least 27 policemen and six villagers were injured in pitched battles early on Tuesday in West Bengal`s Birbhum district, officials said.
Residents of the Loba village in the Khairasole police station area attacked the police party which went there early today to recover a earth-moving machine of a project which was forcibly kept by the villagers.
West Bengal Home secretary Basudeb Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata that 27 policemen and six villagers were injured in the clash.
He said that the police did not resort to firing and had shown patience.
Banerjee said that DVC-EMTA was working on a project there and there was some dispute with the local people following which the villagers kept the earth-moving machine.
He said that the injured were being treated at Suri hospital and Burdwan medical college hospital.
The home secretary said that the district magistrate has been asked to take steps to resolve the problem through dialogue.
Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra claimed that the police had opened fire.
"There was no reason to open fire, but the police has resorted to firing", he said in Kolkata in his initial reaction to the incident.
Saying that they were in the process of gathering more information, the CPI-M leader demanded an inquiry into the incident.
State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said quoting villagers that the police had opened fire, although the police denied it.
".....Then from where did the bullets come. It will be revealed only if an inquiry was ordered," Bhattacharya said.