GUWAHATI, June 22 � Three persons including a child were killed and around 50 people including several policemen injured when police opened fire to quell a protest demonstration that turned violent at Dispur Last Gate today.
The protesters set on fire and damaged a number of vehicles during the mayhem that continued for nearly three hours. They also blocked the GS Road for several hours, leading to severe traffic congestion in the area.
The protesters had gathered at Dispur at the call of Krishak Mukti Sangram Parishad (KMSS) and Brihattar Guwahati Mati Pattan Samiti demanding a halt to the ongoing eviction drive in the city's hills and wetlands besides granting of land patta (settlement rights) to the landless encroaching on those lands.
The injured included several police personnel including City SSP Deepak Choudhury besides a couple of journalists. They have been admitted to the GMCH, GNRC and Down Town hospitals. Two of the injured in GNRC where 17 injured were admitted are stated to be in a critical condition.
Of the 22 injured admitted in the GMCH, Biren Kalita (56) of Panjabari had bullet injuries and was undergoing surgery, a doctor said.
The dead have been identified as Rubul Ali (9), son of Yousuf Ali of Lalmati, Ramen Chandra Barman (32) of Lalmati, and Shiva Kumar Sarma, whose address could not be confirmed till filing of the report.
The scene turned ugly around 1-30 pm when the police tried to prevent the protesters from marching to the State Secretariat. Soon chaos ensued with the agitators pelting stones at police personnel who retaliated with a lathi-charge to disperse the mob. The crowd grew more violent and set on fire a Maruti van and vented their ire even on commuters who had nothing to do with the protest by damaging several vehicles. Later, the protesters set on fire three JNNURM city buses besides a Maruti Gypsy of the police on the GS Road near Down Town Hospital, with the police remaining a silent spectator. A number of other vehicles including a school bus bore the brunt of the mob fury.
The police remained inexplicably restrained during the pandemonium, allowing the protesters to indulge in unprecedented violence.