Tiruchirapalli, Nov 21: Tension prevailed at Kumbakudi near here when a section of villagers belonging to All India Agricultural Workers' Union and other farmers' associations defied the police and uprooted a fence put up around 65 acres of land under private occupation.
The agitators accused the revenue department officials of not evicting the encroachment by a private educational institution and wanted the authorities to immediately clarify the facts pertaining to the status of the land in dispute. They wanted the Revenue Department to distribute house pattas to the poor in the land as promised earlier by the authorities.
The agitators complained to visiting newsmen that the land was first purchased by a private engineering college, which, in turn, had sold it to a realtor based at Mannaragudi.
Trouble arose as a land developer to whom the realtor had sold a portion of the land, attempted to sell it by apportioning it into plots. The agitators also alleged that fake documents were used in the transactions.
CPI(M)functionaries went about uprooting the fence even as a large group of supporters of the alleged occupier of the land was waiting nearby for an opportunity to attack them with lethal weapons.
Police rushed to the spot in large numbers by then and chased them away. About 175 agitators, including 40 women were taken into custody and later released.