Clash on proposed IIT: Goa Cong leaders booked over violence

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(Eds: With updates) Panaji, Jan 7 (PTI) Goa Police on Thursday filed cases against several local Congress leaders and social activists a day after violence broke out in the state's Sattari tehsil over the proposed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus at the nearby Shel-Melauli village, an official said.

The protest against the proposed IIT campus had taken a violent turn on Wednesday with the local protesters hurling stones and the police responding with lathicharge.

'The Valpoi police booked Congress's Goa unit general secretary Sankalp Amonkar, party's Valpoi block president Dasharath Mandrekar, the block's women's cell chief Roshan Desai and social activists Rama Kankonkar, Ranjeet Rane and others for allegedly instigating the crowd,' a senior police official said.

At least 12 policemen and several villagers of Shel- Melaulim were injured during the clash on Wednesday when the latter stopped the cops from entering the village.

The villagers were opposing the demarcation of their land for proposed IIT project in Shel-Melaulim village located around 10 kms from Valpoi town.

Several villagers had later marched to Valpoi town seeking suspension of Police Inspector Sagar Ekoskar, accusing him of stomping on an elderly woman's chest during the clash.

As the situation in Valpoi town remained tense on Thursday, security had been stepped up there.

A high-level meeting, chaired by Director General of Police Mukesh Kumar Meena, was held in the town.

In Panaji, several Congress leaders, including Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar, Goa Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee president Pratima Coutinho, Goa Pradesh Youth Congress Committee chief Varad Mardolkar, protested outside police headquarters.

The party demanded that Ekoskar be dismissed from service and all the cases filed against the political leaders and social activists in connection with the IIT case be withdrawn.

A police official said that the land demarcation work at Shel-Melauli village was suspended temporarily on Thursday as per the government's orders.

The villagers are opposing the project, claiming that it would rob away their precious lands.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had on Wednesday said that the state government will go ahead with the project, notwithstanding the opposition. PTI RPS GK NP NP