Farmers clash with police; 13 injured in Bengal

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Balurghat, Feb 27 (UNI) At least 13 people, including some policemen, were today injured when farmers clashed with the police, demanding more space at the Gangarampur Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Society cold storage here.

The injured were admitted to the sub-divisional hospital.

The incident took place when about 4,000 farmers, who gathered at the cold storage office, went on a rampage after breaking into the office.

Police intervened and urged the agitators to discuss the issue peacefully. However, the angry mob remained unfazed and pelted at stones the policemen.

Superintendent of Police Kalyan Kumar Mullick said when his force failed to control the situation, they resorted to lathicharge and lobbed teargas to disperse the crowd.

The mob turned so violent that police were compelled to even fire bullets in the air, Mr Mullick informed.

The Cooperative had stopped selling bonds for the year on February 24, following saturation in the storage capacity.

The cold storage has a maximum capacity of two lakh potato sacks, out of which five per cent is kept reserved for the government.

On February 25, 500 farmers agitated in front of the Cooperative office, demanding more space. The five per cent space, reserved for the government, was allotted to them.

The next day, about 1,000 farmers protested the decision and demanded that they should be also allotted more space. However, the Cooperative authorities were unable to comply with their demand for dearth of space.

At least 30 people had been arrested and Rapid Action Force deployed to control the situation, Mr Mullick stated.

Additional District Magistrate Krishna Chandra Mondol and Gangarampur Sub-divisional Officer Tapas Kumar Bagchi were personally monitoring the situation.

UNI XC LL SJC PY HS1759

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