Coal block allocation to Jindals sparks voilence, 72 injured

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Raigarh, Chhatisgarh Jan 6 (UNI) More than 70 villagers were injured, eight seriously, in clashes with police while protesting against the allocation of coal-blocks to Jindal Steels for a power plant at a public hearing on Saturday in this district.

Villagers were injured with police batons and by the stone pelting of mercenaries of Jindal Steels at a public hearing organised by the district administration at Khamariya village under Tamanar Police station area. Communist Party of India District Secretary Shivsharan Pandey was also present there.

Superintendent of Police Jayant Thorat, however, said it was only a clash between the two groups of villagers and to control it the police had to resort to mild force. Five police constables were also injured.

Jindals, one of India's leading steel makers have proposed a power plant in Raigarh for which the state government has allocated them coal-blocks in about 800-900 acres of land. The public hearing which ended with blood-stains today, was aimed at getting public approvals and complaints about the allocation.

Almost 1,000 odd villagers, who were present in the hearing, raised their voice against the allocation. When the volume of protest grew police started to beat them with batons while some anti social elements pelted stones on them, injuring 72 people.

Eight of the injured are said to be critical and were hospitalised at Raigarh.

Officials of the Jindal Steels could not be contacted to comment on the incident.

UNI ABS KV 1449

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