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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Fighting for land, woman immolates self on Diwali

Ranjan Srivastava, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, November 14, 2012
First Published: 23:43 IST(14/11/2012) | Last Updated: 02:27 IST(15/11/2012)

A year-old protest against land acquisition for a private c in Madhya Pradesh took a gory turn when a farmer's wife immolated herself on Diwali after she and her husband were allegedly threatened by government officials to vacate the land.

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Suniya Bai's death in Katni district stoked tension in the area and villagers refused to cremate her till the "guilty officials" were punished and the acquisition process was cancelled.

Katni collector Ashok Kumar Singh on Wednesday said there was no evidence of government officials threatening Suniya, 40.

Her husband Chhakka, however, said: "A sub-divisional magistrate, a tehsildar and some middlemen of the company came to our house on Monday and threatened us, saying we should withdraw from the agitation. They said our land would be acquired in any case."

Suniya set herself on fire in her house at Dokaria village around 8pm on Tuesday. She was declared dead on arrival at Katni district hospital.

Chhakka is among nearly 150 farmers of Bujbuja and Dokaria villages opposing acquisition of their land for Welspun Energy Madhya Pradesh Limited's proposed 1980MW plant. They have intensified their protests in the last couple of months.

The company has possession of 800 of the 1,300 acres it requires. Owners of 500 acres have refused compensation.


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