Karnataka farmers’ bid to disrupt agri-summit thwartedDecember 1st, 2011 - 11:37 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, Dec 1 (IANS) Police Thursday detained about 200 protesting farmers when they attempted to disrupt Karnataka’s first Global Agri-business and Food Processing Summit at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) on the city’s outskirts.
“We were not allowed to enter the venue to register our protest against the state government’s efforts to attract global investments in the agriculture sector. Police also prevented us from holding a peaceful rally near the venue against the state government’s anti-farmer policies,” Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) president Kodihalli Chandrashekar told reporters here.
Though about 500 farmers and agricultural labourers from many parts of the state descended near the venue to hold the rally, police dispersed them in view of the security curbs around the BIEC for the two-day agri-summit, organised by the state agriculture department in partnership with the private sector.
“We will not allow outside investors, especially multinationals to either buy our farm lands or set up food-processing units as their entry into the agriculture sector would affect thousands of small and marginal farmers across the state,” Chandrashekar said.
A dozen farmers and NGO activists, who gained entry into the venue in the guise of delegates, were whisked away when they suddenly got up and started shouting slogans against the government even as the inaugural session was underway.
Playing down the incident, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda told reporters later that majority of farmers in the state were in favour of investments in the agriculture sector to increase productivity, enhance their incomes and minimise wastage.
“It is only a minority of farmers who are trying to mislead the people about our policies, which are actually aimed at benefitting them as the farm sector needs huge investments to sustain agriculture growth. Though they have right to protest in a democracy, I am open to meet them and ally their misgivings across the table,” Gowda said defending the summit.
Unprecedented security measures at the venue and entry only on invitation prevented hundreds of genuine farmers from participating in the day-long sessions in the summit.
“As hundreds of visitors, including farmers landed at the venue an hour after the summit began without invitation, we were constrained to regulate entry for security reasons. But after the inaugural session when the VIPs left the venue, we had allowed many of them for the post-lunch sessions,” a police official on duty said.
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Tags: agri business, agricultural labourers, agriculture department, agriculture sector, biec, chandrashekar, chief minister, dozen farmers, farm sector, global investments, gowda, inaugural session, international exhibition centre, karnataka, marginal farmers, multinationals, ngo activists, peaceful rally, processing units, state agriculture