Pune firing: Suspension of policemen demanded

Mumbai/Pune: Opposition members on Thursday demanded suspension of police officers involved in firing in Maval, near Pune, in which three farmers were killed, as video footage showed some policemen apparently aiming their guns and shooting at unarmed protestors.

The firing incident during violent protests on Tuesday continued to rock both Houses of Maharashtra Legislature for the third consecutive day with Opposition creating a ruckus and calling the police action a "cold-blooded encounter".

Terming the firing as 'murder', Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray demanded resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister R R Patil.

With the police facing the heat over its controversial action, Pune rural Police Superintendent Sandip Karnik told reporters six of the injured were hit by bullets below waist and it was unfortunate that three were shot above waist resulting in fatalities.

He also refuted the allegations that one protester was killed in an " encounter" after pulling him out of a car.

Police said the firing was prompted after they were attacked by farmers with stones and their jeeps burnt while they were negotiating with the farmers' leaders.

Three persons were killed and scores injured in police firing in Maval near Pune on Tuesday following the protests over a closed pipeline project to supply water to the industrial township of Pimpri-Chinchwad town.

The Lower House was adjourned five times while the Upper House four times as the opposition members shouted slogans against the government.

At one stage, opposition members climbed onto the podium and overturned the side table of the Legislative Principal Secretary Anant Kalse's desk.

"The concerned police officials should be suspended immediately," the Opposition members demanded.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Pandurang Phundkar said "...Even news channels have aired videos that policemen were seen chasing the farmers."

Video footage of the incident aired by TV channels showed the farmers running away as the policemen fired at them and not in the air.

Home Minister R R Patil on his part said "If any policemen is found guilty of firing he will not only be suspended but would be straightway dismissed from service. And if required a case under section 302 (murder) would also be registered against them," Patil said.