The protest against acquisition of land for an Indian Institute of Management, an Indian Institute of Technology and a law university on the outskirts of the Jharkhand capital has turned violent, officials said.

Hundreds of villagers, mostly tribals, on Thursday blocked the Ranchi-Patratu National Highway, protesting the arrest of three people a day earlier.

More than two dozen people, including Superintendent of Police (Rural) Mr Asim Vikrant Minz, suffered injuries in the clashes on Wednesday. The State Government had acquired 227 acres in 1957 for setting up an IIT, an IIM and a law university at Nagri, around 20 km from here.

The villagers’ protest began in March after the State Government started boundary wall construction. The affected people had moved the Jharkhand High Court, which had passed the judgment in favour of the State Government.

The people then moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order, upholding the land acquisition 55 years back. The Supreme Court in June refused to hear the case and put the High Court order under suspension.

When they failed to get relief from the apex court, the villagers stepped up their protest.

Villagers gathered and started demolishing the boundary wall on Wednesday. The police resorted to baton charge to disburse them. The villagers claim that of the 153 affected families in 1957, 128 had refused to accept the compensation of the State Government, and since they did not accept the compensation, they had right over their lands.

The Chief Minister, Mr Arjun Munda, has sought detailed report on Wednesday’s incident from the district administration.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 6, 2012)
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