4 injured as police open fire on agitating farmers

February 21st, 2011 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Greater Noida, Feb 21 (IANS) Four people, including a woman, were injured as police opened fire Monday after a clash with agitating farmers here, an official said.The farmers were staging a sit-in on the road over their long-pending demand for higher compensation for their land, which was acquired to build a fast-track road between Delhi and Agra.

Police said they opened fire in retaliation only after the farmers fired upon them.

“Police were compelled to open firing only after the farmers attacked them”, Gautam Budh Nagar superintendent of police Amitabh Yash told reporters.

About 600 farmers from some 17 villages have been demanding parity in monetary compensation with farmers whose land was acquired in Noida for the purpose. They started the sit-in Dec 17.

“We were promised parity following which we lifted our dharna outside the district magistrate’s office in December last. But nothing has been done so far by the administration,” the farmers’ leader Manveer Singh Tewatia told reporters.

What agitated the farmers was when the authorities prevented them from making an appeal directly to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati during her visit to the district Sunday, he said.

A day before the chief minister’s visit, police arrested Tewatia to prevent the farmers from attempting to meet her.

In retaliation, they held the sub-divisional magistrate and the sub-divisional officer as hostage, demanding the release of Tewatia.

Eventually, the police conceded to their demand and Tewatia was let off early Sunday morning.

However, the local administration did not allow the farmers’ representatives to meet the chief minister.

The proposed 165-km Yamuna Expressway is expected to reduce driving time between New Delhi and Agra by one hour. It will pass through the districts of Gautam Buddha Nagar, Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar (Hathras) and Mathura.

The project involved acquisition of 2,500 hectare of land in as many as 115 villages for the development of the expressway.

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