Indian troops quell land protest

Soldiers deployed for first time in years to suppress unrest in a major Indian city.

    Central Kolkata is under a night curfew [AFP]
    Police in riot gear used batons and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who were called to march by the All India Minority Forum.
     
    VK Goyal, the city deputy police commissioner, said: "There is tension. Right now we have an uneasy calm."
     
    Prasad Ranjan Roy, the state home secretary, said: "The three-hour demonstration was more or less peaceful, but a large number of unorganised people gathered."
     
    Region in turmoil
     
    The region in eastern India has been in turmoil for months after the local government proposed building a chemical plant on fields around Kolkata.
     
    Protesting farmers have been fired on by police and there have been months of clashes leaving dozens dead.
     
    The farmers, many of whom are Muslim, say the communist controlled regional government has been waging a campaign of brutality against them for refusing to give up their land.
     
    The latest protests brought the city to a standstill, with residents forced to walk to work with their hands on their heads.
     
    Schools were closed and police said at least 40 vehicles were damaged, including about a dozen set on fire.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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