The day long blockade of National Highway No. 17 and Konkan Railway track at Balli on Wednesday turned violent in the evening with Balli residents retaliating in which one person is reported to be burnt to death while unconfirmed reports claimed another death.
Balli residents retaliated to the inconvenience caused to them by attacking the agitators in which MLA Ramesh Tawadkar was reportedly hurt. Police personnel were also injured and police vehicles were damaged.
They also burnt the building housing the Adarsh Co-operative Society which is headed by Prakash Velip who is also the President of United Tribals Associations Alliance that led the agitation on Wednesday.
Assistant Fire Officer Nitin Raikar confirmed that a charred body was found in the premises of Adarsh society when they were battling the fire. However, the gender of the person could not be ascertained and the body has been handed over to the police for investigations.
Late night there were reports that another body was found on the first floor of the building, but the same could not be ascertained. Significantly, UTAA leaders claimed that one of their activists was missing.
Incidentally the Adarsh Society building was set on fire after Soiru, a UTAA leader along with some other tribals sought shelter there. They were later rescued by fire services personnel.
The agitation turned violent at around 3 pm when the police tried to clear the around 2000 tribals gathered at the Balli junction along the National Highway by resorting to a lathi charge, which failed as the crowd outnumbered the police.
The tribals retaliated by setting some police vehicles on fire and pelting stones on the police during which Superintendent of Police Tony Fernandes and Police Sub Inspector Suraj Samant along with some other police personnel were injured.