Demolition triggers protest on road

The dispute over settlement on 1,024.52 acres in Digha has once again come to the fore with hundreds of landowners and residents on Thursday blocking the disputed area from all sides, burning tyres and squatting on the roads.

Fresh protests sparked after a team of Bihar State Housing Board (BSHB) allegedly razed boundary walls and stairs of a few under-construction houses at Nepali Nagar ' on the western side of Ashiana- Digha Road.

Residents alleged that the women were manhandled by the BSHB team. "It was in the afternoon that around 30 constables led by a magistrate started demolishing the boundary walls of my house. As I was alone, I got very scared and started screaming," said Rita Devi, a resident of Nepali Nagar.

The protesters also claimed that the demolition started without any prior notice. "They started razing the houses without prior intimation. They came all of a sudden and misbehaved with our women and children. This is not acceptable to us," said Rajesh Kumar, resident of Nepali Nagar, who claimed to have been living at his 2-cottah house since 1996.

"Senior police and administrative officers are camping at the site," said an officer at Rajeev Nagar police station.

Urban development department secretary S. Siddharth said: "A blanket status quo was imposed on the disputed Digha-Rajeev Nagar land since the Digha Acquired Land Settlement Act was passed in 2010. Also, the Supreme Court had clearly stated that these people don't have a locus standi. Accordingly, the housing board has been asked to ensure compliance of the act as well as the judgment."

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