Villagers, police clash over proposed IIT campus in Goa

The ongoing protest against the proposed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus at Shel-Melauli village in Goa’s Sattari tehsil took a violent turn on Wednesday with the protesters hurling stones and the police responding with lathicharge, officials said.

At least 12 police personnel were injured after villagers attacked them with stones this morning in the forested area outside the Shel-Melauli village.

“Police lathicharged protesters to control the crowd that had stopped the State Land Survey officers from continuing the demarcation work for the proposed IIT project,” a police officer told reporters.

The IIT-Goa campus is proposed on a 10 lakh square metre area in Shel-Malauli and Guleli villages, some 50 kilometres from Panaji.

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

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had recently said that the state government will go ahead with the IIT project.

Trouble started on Tuesday when Land Survey officers began demarcation exercise amidst protests, leading to a minor scuffle.

On Wednesday morning, hundreds of villagers had gathered in the forested area and formed a human chain at the entrance of the site where the Land Survey officers were expected to arrive, and clashed with police personnel.

Later in the day, hundreds of villagers blocked a road in Valpoi town, around 10 kms from the site of the protest, demanding suspension of Valpoi police station inspector.

Some women protesters told reporters that the concerned inspector had stamped upon the chest of an elderly woman during the clash near Shel-Melaulim village.

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