One killed, over 60 injured in fishermen-police clash
Visakhapatnam, Mar 27: A fisherman was killed and more than 60, including 23 policemen were injured when fishermen of Gangavaram village clashed with police for not allowing them to stop work at Gangavaram port, about 28 km from here today.
As the situation went out of control, police had to resort to firing in the air and lathi charge. They fired several rounds of teargas shells to control the fishermen who threw stones at them.
The fisherman identified as Nookaraju died as a teargas shell hit him. He died while being rushed to hospital.
Reports also said a woman, died after being allegedly beaten severely by the police. However, police refused to confirm any deaths.
Reserve Police ACP M S Papa Rao and another sub inspector also received minor injuries in the pitched battle. Injured fishermen and policemen were admitted to various hospitals.
The scene at the village of predominantly poor fishermen resembled a battlefield this morning, as 3000 fisherfolk, including women, supported by all the political parties, except the ruling Congress, came out on the main road and started moving towards the beach, where the port work is going on, about one km from the village.
Anticipating trouble heavy police deployment was in place.
A clash broke out as the police prevented the villagers from proceeding to the beach. The agitated villagers started pelting stones at the police.
Police first canecharged the protesters and later fired teargas shells. They also fired several rounds in the air and in the ensuing melee scores, including policemen, were injured.
The situation could be brought under control only after about three hours, as CPI city unit president Satyanarayana Murthy helped the police to pacify the protesters.
CITU State President Narasinga Rao and some political party leaders, besides some 60 fishermen, were arrested.
The fishermen of Gangavaram village, having a population of about 25,000, are at loggerheads with the state government against the construction of the Greenfield private sector port, which is being developed by a Dubai-based consortium of companies.
The fishermen are demanding a separate fishing jetty, adjacent to the port, for which the promoters were not agreeing.
The government has identified a place at Yarada, north of Gangavaram village for construction of a fishing jetty, but the villagers are dead against shifting their fishing activities to that place. They are also demanding proper relief and rehabilitation measures for the 3600 families in the village, and jobs for the youth at the new port.