66 farmers missing, say mourning Ghori Bachhera villagers

August 14th, 2008 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Greater Noida, Aug 14 (IANS) Ghori Bachhera village of Greater Noida sunk into mourning and anger Thursday, a day after at least four agitating farmers were killed in clashes with police, as villagers alleged 66 people were still missing. “As many as 66 people of Ghori Bachhera have gone missing since Wednesday’s carnage,” said Bhopal Singh, a lawyer from the village.

“The police picked up Subedar Ramesh Rawal, a critically injured farmer, from the hospital and also picked up his son Sandeep Rawal who had gone to see his father,” he said, showing a list of the 66 people who, according to him, were yet to return home after the tragedy.

Over 10,000 people of Ghori Bachhera were in the mourning, he said. At a condolence meet, village leaders said the police used force and cremated the bodies of the four farmers killed.

Surendra Singh, a villager, said at a condolence meeting: “The policemen in the wee hours of Thursday barged into the houses of the farmers - Om Prakash, the husband of village council head Omwati, Jagdish and Raj Kumar, picked them up and asked them to receive the bodies, and threatened them.”

“They also forced them to accept the compensation cheques for the deceased or face death,” he said.

Many were still nursing their wounds.

“I have never seen a day in my life as this. The police shot dead some of our people point blank. We cried for help, but they beat us mercilessly,” said Mohan Rawal, 60, showing his wounded foot.

The deceased have been identified as Yogesh Rawal, 30, Gopal, 48, Manoj Rawal, 22, and Rajendra Sharma, 40.

Villagers contested the official claim that only four people were killed and said several more were shot dead.

They said they found the body of a 45-year-old villager, Satte, early Thursday morning in the fields near Meethapur village. “His body bore wound marks,” said Surendra Rawal, a villager.

“The police have not come to know about his body or else they would snatch it from us and cremate it as an unidentified body,” he said.

Senior Superintendent of Police R.K. Chaturvedi said: “About 40 injured people are in different hospitals. The villagers should tell us about the other missing persons and we are willing to trace them. If anybody is saying that we are terrifying them, it is not true.”

Asked about the body of Satte found in Meethapur, Chaturvedi said it was a case of natural death.

The farmers were agitating Wednesday for a better compensation package for the land the Uttar pradesh government acquired in the village two years ago.

In state capital Lucknow, Chief Minister Mayawati announced a judicial probe into the incident.

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