Clashes in Kerala over land acquisition

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MALAPPURAM : Protesters on Friday clashed with police here over land acquisition for a national highway development project, leaving several women and children injured.
Fearing their land and houses would be taken away, the demonstrators fought with the police as a land survey work was going on.

Trouble started with the beginning of the survey for a new alignment. According to the protesters there are two alignments -- in one 58 houses will be demolished and in the other a mosque and a temple will have to go.
"There is enough government land near the new alignment. Why cannot they take that first and then take ours?" asked a woman who took part in the protest.
A large number of people had assembled near A.R. Nagar near Vengara on Friday. The clash started when they pelted stones at the police, who retaliated by chasing them.
The roads were then blocked and old tyres were set on fire.
Over the past few months, Kerala has been witnessing mass protests over land acquisition.
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala accused the Left government of trying to "terrorise the people".
"The need of the hour is that the government should invite the protesters for talks. This is not the way development activities should take place."
However, Kerala PWD Minister G. Sudhakaran said this was an attempt to foment trouble and unrest.
"What is happening is some people are trying to create unrest. We have no issues to discuss with the people," said Sudhakaran.

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