Landless villagers hit Nitish Kumar with stones

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Nalanda, Feb 8 (UNI) Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar today sustained minor head injuries when a mob pelted him with stones near the site of the proposed Nalanda International University here, demanding adequate compensation for acquisition of their land.

''I was completely taken aback at the sudden turn of events and could not believe my eyes that some villagers are pelting me with stones,'' the Chief minister told newspersons on his return to Patna.

''At least five or six stones hit me and a big one even landed on my temple causing severe pain,'' Mr Kumar said. Though he did not bleed, the doctors advised him to perform a ''CTscan'' immediately to ascertain whether there was any serious damage.

Describing the incident as nothing but a ''deep rooted conspiracy'' against him, Mr Kumar, without holding anyone responsible for the incident said he had already ordered a magisterial inquiry into the entire episode to find out the culprits.

''Neither had the intelligence bureau nor the district police nor the district administration had any previous information about the possibility of any such incident, '' the Chief Minister said, adding in fact, he was talking to some villagers to listen to their grievances when suddenly the attack took place.

Ruling out the possibility of any financial irregularity at the time of the payment of compensation, the Chief Minister claimed that the government had so far acquired about 450 acre of land in the area and paid ''handsomely'' to all the land losers.

''We are in the process of acquiring another about 550 acre by this year under the same package of compensation,'' he informed.

Moreover, he said, a high power committee under the chairmanship of Mr K P Jaisawal had already been formed to ascertain the scope of proper rehabilitation of the residents of nearly 200 surrounding villages of the proposed global university site leaving no scope of dissension among the local villagers.

Earlier, raising anti-government slogans and demanding higher compensation package, a group of villagers assembled near the ruins of the 500-year-old ancient Nalanda university and tried to disrupt the visit of former President A P J Abdul Kalam and the Chief Minister to examine the site of the proposed new University.

Incidentally, Dr Kalam is the ''first visitor' at the proposed university, to be set up at an initial cost of Rs 80 crore at this historical site and is expected to start its first academic session from next year.

As soon as the incident took place, the security forces swung into action and escorted Dr Kalam to a safer place. They also resorted to mild lathicharge and cordoned off the entire area as a preacautionaery measure.

''I am ready to sacrifice my life for the cause of development of Nalanda and this kind of incident would not deter me from moving ahead towards this cherished goal, '' Mr Kumar said.

Dr Kalam arrived Patna last night on a two-day visit to Bihar and visited the historical sites of Rajgir near here.

UNI ABA SJC AKJ RAI1949

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