Yeddyurappa asks police not to open fire at farmers

June 12th, 2008 - 1:08 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 11 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Wednesday ordered the state police not to open fire at agitating farmers, whatever be the provocation. The directive came a day after one person was killed in police firing on farmers protesting against fertilizer and seed shortage in north Karnataka’s Haveri district. “The police should not resort to firing on farmers whatever the situation and provocation. I have given this direction to them,” Yeddyurappa told reporters before flying to Haveri to meet the family of Siddalingappa Churi, who died in the firing.

At Haveri, he handed over a cheque for Rs.200,000 to Churi’s family as compensation and offered a job to a family member.

Yeddyurappa will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi Thursday noon to seek immediate supply of fertilisers to the state.

He blamed the central government for the shortage and said it was trying to “pass the buck” to the state government.

Yeddyurappa, who Tuesday said there was no shortage of fertilizer and the farmers’ agitation was politically motivated, said Wednesday that the stock of DAP (di ammonium phosphate) in Karnataka as of April 1 this year was 3,821 tonnes as against 52,962 tonnes on April 1, 2007. Complex manures stock was only 9,409 tonnes compared to 73,793 tonnes April 1, 2007.

“The central government promised to release 120,000 tonnes of DAP and 110,000 tonnes of complex manures in June. But as on Wednesday, we have received 23,000 tonne of DAP and 24,500 tonnes of complex manures,” he said.

“The centre is directly responsible (for the shortage),” he said.

Yeddyurappa, who May 30 took oath as chief minister in the name of god and farmer, said the Haveri incident has shocked his government.

He rejected the opposition Congress demand for a judicial probe into Haveri firing and said he has already ordered an investigation by a senior official, who will submit the report in ten days.

Farmers in 10 of the state’s 29 districts have been agitating for eight days now demanding adequate fertilizer and seed supply to begin sowing operations as monsoon rains have started.

The agitation turned violent in Dharwad district Monday where three buses were burnt and shops selling fertilisers were attacked. The violence spread to neighbouring Haveri Tuesday with the police opening fire to control the crowd after a baton charge and teargas shells failed to restore order.

Haveri was tense but free of any incident Wednesday as Churi’s funeral was held, the police said in Bangalore.

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