Punjab politician climbs tree in protest,wants to meet badal

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Old 17-Apr-2011
Punjab politician climbs tree in protest,wants to meet badal

Zirakpur April 17:

A Punjab politician has perched himself atop a eucalyptus tree for over a day and insists he would not come down till Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal personally comes to listen to his grievance.

Avtar Singh Nagla clambered up the tree in Nagla village Friday, armed with water bottles and eatables. He was using a small cot, resting on a tree branch, to sit. Local administration and police officials, late Saturday evening, went to the spot to persuade Nagla to come down but were unsuccessful.

"He has refused to come down and is adamant over his demand to meet the chief minister. He is talking about an old matter of 1971. I have directed the officials to look into it," Dera Bassi sub-divisional magistrate Puneet Goyal told reporters. "Now we will again come in the morning to persuade him to come down. We cannot allow him to do this for a long time," Goyal said. In the meantime, local villagers and supporters of Nagla have come forward to help him.

"We have given him a small cot (makeshift bed) that he has balanced over a big branch, to sit. We would also supply breakfast to him in the morning. We all are ready to support him," said Baljinder Singh, a villager. Nagla, who unsuccessfully contested the 2007 assembly elections, said: "I will not come down till Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal himself comes here and listens to my grievances. Earlier too, I had staged protest demonstrations at various places but every time police forcibly removed me. Now, they cannot do anything."

There was high drama as police and the administration officials were busy trying to persuade him to come down, but Nagla refused to and till filing of this report had spent more than 30 hours on the tree. As Nagla refused to come down even after sunset, halogen lights were installed around the tree and a heavy police force was deployed in the area.

On the reason behind his extreme step, Nagla said: "The state government had given several acres of land here on lease to a paper mill company so as to provide employment to the villagers. But the mill owners sold the land to a property dealer at very high prices. I want that land back." Nagla in Mohali district, located on Chandigarh-Ambala highway near Zirakpur town, is around 15 km from Chandigarh.

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