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One dead in land clash near capital

Ranchi, July 29: One person was killed and a superintendent of police was among the 39 injured during a clash over land today at Chanho block, 40km from Ranchi district headquarters.

Apparently, 40 persons offered Id namaz on tribal land at village Shilagain in Cha-nho, causing about 100-odd local villagers to object. As the altercation snowballed, some 5,000 members of the minority community turned up, many with sharp-edged weapons and stones.

In the heated clash that lasted for almost two hours, farmer Dashrath Oraon was fatally hit on the head with a sharp weapon while SP (rural) S.K. Jha, DSP Radha Prem Kishore, SDO Amit Kumar, 12 police constables and 24 villagers sustained injuries.

Oraon died on the spot. Thirty-six of the injured, including the police personnel, are undergoing treatment at RIMS in Ranchi.

Chief minister Hemant Soren has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for Dashrath’s next-of-kin and Rs 50,000 each for the injured.

Around 200 police personnel have been deputed overnight and the state administration has decided to deploy two helicopters for an aerial survey tomorrow.

Since morning, anticipating trouble, a 25-member police team, including 10 mahila personnel, had been deputed at the spot. But, they were outnumbered.

Acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty, Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey, SSP Prabhat Kumar, DIG (Chotanagpur commissioner) K.K. Khandelwal, IG M.S. Bhatia, among others, rushed to the village in the afternoon. “Things are under control now. Police are camping in the area. Tomorrow we will conduct an aerial survey,” Chakraborty said.

An injured villager admitted to RIMS, Bigan Bhagat explained the land dispute. “A resident, Roza Bhagat, had donated 26 decimals of his ancestral land five years ago for an idgah. But the minority community built an Urdu school and are constructing a mosque. They now want an extra seven decimals from Roza, which is the cause of the dispute,” he alleged.

Shilagain is tribal-dominated but nearby villages Hurhuri, Bilasi, Balsokra and Madarsa have a sizeable minority population.

Julfan Ansari, former mukhiya of Chanho, condemned the incident. “Somehow vested interests interfered in the matter and situation became tense,” he said.

Mandar MLA Bandhu Tirkey, who was present at the village when the clash started and sought refuge at a house, called it a glaring example of administrative failure. “The administration is aware of the dispute between tribal and members of the minority community over land. It needed to take the matter seriously.”