Patna: Several people were injured here on Tuesday in a lathi charge at a busy crossing in the heart of the city when police personnel tried to stop a procession, taken out in protest against the farm laws from heading towards the Raj Bhavan.
Traffic was thrown out of gear as thousands of protestors, comprising members of various farmers organizations and pro-Left outfits, marched through Frazer Road before they were thwarted at the Dak Bungalow crossing.
According to police, the crackdown at Dak Bungalow crossing was preceded by skirmishes between the demonstrators and police and administrative officials at the Gandhi Maidan, the starting point of the rally, where agitators took exception to their entry being allowed inside the sprawling public ground only through one of the many gates.
District administration had placed barricades at Gandhi Maidan to prevent those already camping there for the last few days. But hundreds of new farmers reached Patna on Tuesday and assembled near the Gandhi Maidan before they took out a mega march to the Bihar Raj Bhawan.
Now with the added reinforcement, more barricades were set up to block the farmers march from the historic ground.
Police sources said the restriction was put in place to avoid a stampede-like situation.
The demonstrators alleged that it was an attempt to suppress their voice.
Later, when they reached the Dak Bungalow crossing, about a kilometre and a half away, officials deployed there told the demonstrators that their march could not be allowed beyond that point.
However, the farmers already huge in numbers, quickly gained strength with every passing minute and broke the barricades between Gandhi Maidan and Dak Banglow Chowk.
As the demonstrators insisted on walking right up to the Raj Bhavan, some three km away, the police used force to prevent their march towards the restricted VIP area.
Police had to resort to baton-charge the farmers on Frazer Road in a bid to disperse them from the area.
An unspecified number of injured protestors were taken to hospitals for treatment while a few were rounded up, the police said.
There was heavy deployment of force at Dak Bungalow crossing, where some of the demonstrators sought to stand their ground raising slogans, the police added.
The tussle between farmers and police has been underway at several places apart from the city's famous Dak Banglow Chowk.
The Patna administration has deployed a large number of police personnel at every road connecting Gandhi Maidan to Raj Bhawan, including the Bailey road to prevent their march.
Farmers under the umbrella of Kisan MahaSabha came out on streets to protest against three contentious farm laws passed in Parliament by the Narendra Modi government in September.
This is the first ever major agitation started by a non-political unit apart from some supporters of left parties in Bihar. Earlier, RJD, JAP and Congress parties have taken out marches in solidarity with the farmers.
(With inputs from agencies)