Hundreds of local villagers set on fire a portion of under-construction plant of J K Lakshmi Cement in Durg district of Chhattisgarh, angered by the company’s reported reluctance to give jobs to project-affected persons, police said today.

Some of the protesters and a few policemen sustained minor injuries in the incident that took place last evening, police said.

“The agitating villagers entered the plant and set ablaze a portion of factory apart from around three dozen vehicles at Malpuri-Khurd village last evening,” Chhavni City Superintendent of Police (CSP) Ravindra Upadhayay told PTI.

Property worth Rs 25 crore was destroyed, while 40 agitators, including their leader Virendra Kurrey, were arrested.

The CSP said that the villagers in the region were demanding permanent employment, having surrendered their lands for the factory.

Last evening, a brawl broke out between some factory workers and demonstrating villagers after a security guard allegedly used abusive language.

It snowballed into stone-pelting and arson. Apart from a part of the plant, vehicles, including earth-moving vehicles of the construction company GDCL, were set on fire.

Police rushed to the spot and reportedly fired in the air to disperse the violent crowd after which they torched a police jeep and attacked policemen, Upadhayay said.

The mob was finally pacified with the intervention of senior police officials, he added.

Officials of J K Cement were unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, family members of the arrested villagers today staged demonstration at Nandi police station, demanding their release.

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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