Greater Noida farmers demand dismissal of Mayawati government

August 18th, 2008 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Greater Noida, Aug 18 (IANS) Hundreds of farmers gathered here Monday demanding the dismissal of the Mayawati government and protested the acquisition of farmland by the Uttar Pradesh government at what they claimed were cheaper rates. At a massive meeting held at Ghori-Bachhera village, the farmers announced that they would meet President Pratibha Patil and United Progressive ALliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi to submit their demand for dismissal of the state government.

Farmers gathered from the nearby districts of Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Baghpat, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Ghaziabad to condemn the police firing on farmers on Aug 13 in which five people were killed and passed a resolution that the farmers would not allow further acquisition of their land.

Farmers’ leader Raj Kumar Bhati said: “The authorities forcibly acquire farmers’ lands at a very meagre price and then sell these at a very high premium - more than 100 times. The land is the only livelihood of the poor farmers. After the acquisition of land, the farmers become jobless and their unskilled generations do not get any job. Therefore, to save their families, no further land acquisition is acceptable to us.”

“If the land is required for any development, it should be bought directly from the farmer through negotiations at the prevailing market rate,” added Bhati.

The meeting passed a resolution that criminal cases filed against farmers be withdrawn immediately, the compensation amount to the families of the farmers killed in police firing be raised from Rs.300,000 to Rs.1.5 million and a job be provided to a member of the family whose land had been acquired, Bhati said.

Bijendra Bhati, district president of the Samajwadi Party, said merely the transfer or suspension of the guilty police officials was not enough. A case of murder should be registered against the then Circle Officer (Police) Kuldeep Singh.

Earlier, the district administration fortified the entire district by barricading the entry points at several places. Senior leaders Ajit Singh, Digvijay Singh, Sachin Pilot, and Mahendra Singh Tikait were reportedly stopped en route. Farmers’ leader Tikait was detained at Meerut while other leaders were arrested at UP Gate and Lal Kuan.

On Aug 13, about 2,000 farmers had gathered outside the Greater Noida authority office to demand higher compensation for the land acquired in previous years for infrastructure projects, including industries and an international airport which have now been shelved.

The police initially resorted to a baton-charge to disperse the farmers, who had intensified their agitation and wanted to storm the authority office. When the baton-charge failed to quell the angry farmers, the police opened fire in which five farmers were killed.

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