C'garh: Villagers protest over mining, arrest of six locals

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Narayanpur, Dec 5 (PTI) Scores of villagers have been staging a sit-in protest against proposed iron ore mining and the recent arrest of six persons on suspicion of being Naxals at a village in Chhattisgarh's Maoist-hit Narayanpur district.

Around 4,000 people have been sitting in protest at Dhaudai village, located in Abhujmad around 350 km from capital Raipur, since Thursday, an official said on Saturday.

The protest has disrupted vehicular movement on Narayanpur-Orchha road and the district administration is trying to pacify the protesters.

'Six farmers were apprehended by the police from Kademeta and they should be released. We are also agitating against the allotment of Aamdai Ghati in Chhote Dongar area for iron ore mining,' one of the protesters said.

According to the police, six people, who were active as Naxals, were arrested from Kademeta village last month for allegedly planting IEDs to target security forces in the area.

'They were apprehended for their involvement in planting 18 IEDs on under-construction Palli-Barsoor road to target security forces. The probe revealed that they were trained in planting explosives,' Narayanpur superintendent of police Mohit Garg told PTI.

Following the arrests, some villagers had contacted the police enquiring about their whereabouts and were informed that the six men were in jail and their families can meet them as per rules, the official said.

Later, some villagers staged a protest in front of Kademeta police camp, and on December 3, they gathered at Chhotedonger and subsequently reached Dhaudai where they sat in protest, he said.

'We have made certain arrangements like drinking water for protesters who are around 4,000 in number,' the official added.

Meanwhile, Narayanpur collector Abhijeet Singh said the protesters are yet to approach the district administration with their demands in writing.

'Villagers have been opposing the proposed iron ore mining in Aamdai Ghati, but their exact demands are not known as their representatives are yet to talk to the administration,' he said.

After holding talks with them, further action will be taken, he said.

Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Arvind Netam on Friday visited Dhaudai and held talks with the protesters to enquire about their demands. PTI COR TKP ARU ARU