| Residents block part of Bailey Road on Monday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Timely police action on Monday prevented a peaceful road blockade in Jagdeo Path over land acquisition from taking an ugly turn like a similar stir in 2011.
Some members of the Musahar Mahadalit community blocked the key stretch for over five hours over the same plot of land. Sensing trouble, a huge posse of policemen was deployed on Monday.
On April 5, 2011, the area witnessed a bloody clash after henchmen allegedly belonging to a builder had fired upon the Mahadalits leading to the death of a woman.
“Around 9am on Monday, a large group of men living along the Jagdeo Path blocked the road shouting slogans. They were with banners and posters, which talked about a 10-cottah plot in the Siddharth Nagar area, which had been allegedly grabbed by a builder. The police removed the blockade only after 1pm. People plying along the area had to face a lot of problems. However, barring a few instances, the people were not violent,” an officer at the Airport police station said.
The police said the people had alleged that the land was used as a burial place since years. “This land has been in conflict since long now. There are a group of people who say that the land belongs to them. One Amit Kumar Poddar, who claims to be the owner of the plot, had started constructing a boundary wall on the land following a Patna High Court order. The construction of the boundary wall, under police protection and magistrate, started on June 9 and was completed by June 13. Suddenly, after three days, the protest started. One Left party has been supporting the cause of these people and they organised this protest. Some commuters who were adamant to move along the road despite the blockade have been roughed up,” another police officer added.
The local people seemed not in a mood to budge. “This is a sacred land for us and we are using it to bury the deceased and perform last rites since more than two decades now. Altogether, there is a land with an area of 24 cottah of which 14 cottah have been usurped by the builders illegally. We have been quiet but not now. Earlier, we have taken the matter to the district administration and even to the chief minister. But all our efforts have gone in vein. We will not leave the plot and will fight for it,” one of them said.