A few ministers from Maharashtra are likely to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar here tomorrow to discuss the issue of a farmers’ protest in a village near Mumbai which turned violent today. Farmers in the western state have been protesting against land acquisition for a proposed airport at Nevali and set vehicles on fire and clashed with police, leaving four policemen injured.
“We discussed the issue of farmers and the ongoing protest in Maharashtra. Some minister from the state are to come and meet Pawarji tomorrow. We are hoping the issue would be resolved,” NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar told reporters. He was interacting with mediapersons after a meeting with Pawar at the NCP chief’s residence today, in which party leader Praful Patel, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmad Patel, and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury were also present. The government had some years ago started acquiring land in the area to set up an airport. The farmers have been opposing the project.
However, the protest turned violent as the farmers started agitating simultaneously at several places near Nevali, located about 50 kms away from Mumbai. The angry protesters also clashed with police and pelted security personnel with stones when they tried to control the situation, a police official said.
Three police officers and a constable suffered injuries in the clash, he said. The aggrieved farmers had earlier this month approached the Bombay High Court with a bunch of petitions challenging the acquisition of over 1,600 acres of land by the Ministry of Defence for an airport requisitioned during the World War II.
According to the petitions, the land was requisitioned by the government through an order passed by the then Thane collector in February 1943 under the Defence of India Rules. The petitions have challenged the validity of the requisition order.