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Farmers launch hunger strike

india Updated: Aug 31, 2010 00:35 IST
HT Correspondent
hunger strike

Fifteen farmers, including two women, went on an indefinite hunger strike in Aligarh on Monday, demanding better compensation for land acquired by the Mayawati government for the Noida-Agra Yamuna Expressway project.

The agitating farmers have also demanded that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati hold direct talks with them and not through bureaucrats or ministers to settle the issue.

"The chief minister should come here and hold direct talks with us," said Manveer Singh Tewatia, who is spearheading the agitation under the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti.

Tewatia told a gathering of more than 5,000 farmers at Tappal, 60 km from Aligarh, that the agitation would end only when the government returns the farmers' land.

Tewatia is also participating in the hunger strike.

Farmers have been holding demonstrations for more than a month in western UP, including Aligarh, Mathura and Agra districts, demanding parity in compensation with farmers in Noida and Greater Noida.

Farmers in Noida and Greater Noida were paid R880 per square foot, while farmers in Mathura and Aligarh have been offered R570 per square foot.

Opposition parties have supported their demand, and the farmers held a massive demonstration in New Delhi on Thursday, led by Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh.

Tewatia flayed the state government for being insensitive and demanded an FIR be filed pertaining to the police firing on August 14 in which four people were killed.

The leader of the farmers' organisation Bharatiya Kisan Union, Rakesh Tikait, has also extended support to the agitating farmers.