Farmer killed in police firing in Karnataka

June 10th, 2008 - 10:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 10 (IANS) One man was killed and three were injured when police fired on a group of farmers agitating against fertiliser shortage in Haveri district of Karnataka Tuesday. The victim was identified as Siddalingappa Churi, a local farmer.

Farmers in several districts like Hassan, Dharwad and Davangere have been agitating for nearly a week now demanding supply of fertilisers to enable them start sowing, as monsoons have arrived in the state.

The agitation in Dharwad turned violent Monday when three state transport buses were set ablaze. The police lobbed teargas shells to bring the situation under control.

The agitation spread Tuesday to another north Karnataka district, Haveri, about 350 km from Bangalore, with farmers taking to the streets seeking fertiliser and seeds.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa announced a compensation of Rs.200,000 to the family of Churi. The injured will get between Rs.25,000 and Rs.50,000.

Leaders of the Congress party, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and farmers’ organisations attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Yeddyurappa that took office on May 30. The new government, the first BJP government in south India, was criticised for failing to ensure adequate fertiliser and seeds supply.

“B.S. Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister in the name of farmers and this is how his government cares for the farmers,” Congress leader Siddaramaiah said, reacting to the Haveri incident. JD-S leader and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy also criticised the chief minister.

Soon after the Haveri incident, Yeddyurappa met senior home, agriculture and police officials in Bangalore on measures to be taken to meet the farmers’ demands and ensure that the agitation does not spread.

Yeddyurappa Tuesday quoted “intelligence reports” to say there was no shortage of fertilisers and the agitation was “politically motivated”.

Yeddyurappa said this is the first time that Karnataka is witnessing such a stir. “This amply demonstrates that there is a conspiracy against my government.”

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