Police fire gunshots, lob teargas to disperse demolition protesters in Mirchaiya bazaarPeople whose houses were damaged in the demolition drive have been protesting since April 10 seeking compensation.
Police fired 27 rounds and lobbed 11 teargas shells to disperse a crowd that had gathered outside Mirchaiya mayor Nabin Kumar Yadav’s office on Thursday to protest the demolition drive carried out by the municipality. The protesters were demanding compensation for the losses caused to their houses.
Sangita Kumari Sah, a Mirchaiya local, was injured after allegedly being assaulted by police, said Anjay Sah, the victim’s husband told the Post. She was taken to the Karjanha-based Phul Kumari Mahato Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Another local, Dinesh Kumar, also sustained head injuries due to an alleged police assault, Anjay added. Kumar is undergoing treatment at the Mangalam Hospital for treatment.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Rabindra Raj Pandey, who is also the spokesperson at the Siraha Police Office, informed that five police personnel were also injured in clashes.
The clashes occurred after the protesters who were encircling the municipality office attempted to breach the police cordon and enter the mayor’s office.
Protesting outside the mayor’s office, the demonstrators demanded that Yadav answer questions raised by the locals. However, after Yadav refused to come out, the crowd grew unruly and tried to enter the office building.
The agitated mob then pelted stones at the municipal building causing damage to the mayor’s parked vehicle.
Meanwhile, the protestors have accused the police of forcibly entering their homes and physically assaulting them in pursuit.
The locals have been staging daily protests since April 10, demanding compensation and justice for the victims of the municipal drive.
They have also demanded that the municipality provide them shelter and a place to run businesses to sustain their livelihoods.
The Mirchaiya Municipality demolished some 36 houses on February 10, February 23, and March 3, after it found the houses were built by encroaching on government land.
The agitated locals, many of whom said they have become homeless due to the demolition drive, have accused the local body of rushing the demolition drive without a proper action plan and neglecting the locals who have been affected as a result.
According to locals, 17 houses in the Mirchaiya bazaar area that were constructed lawfully on private land were also demolished by the municipality for widening the road. The municipality, however, claims the houses were built on government land.
Even though the municipality itself had allowed the locals to reside and run businesses in the area before it flourished into the marketplace it is today, it has forcibly evicted the locals from the area now, the locals said.
The locals claim that they have the land ownership certificates of the land where their houses stood.
However, the municipality claims that the houses were built illegally by encroaching government land.