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Farmers' rage boils over

india Updated: Aug 17, 2010 02:25 IST
HT Correspondents

A gathering of 30,000 farmers brandishing guns, swords and sticks attended the mahapanchayat in Jigarpur village of Aligarh on Monday, a day after the death of three protestors in clashes with the police.

They reiterated their demand for higher compensation for farm land acquired for the 165-km Yamuna Expressway project, connecting Noida and Agra, and for the Model City project near the expressway.

The gathering, attended by Opposition leaders of Uttar Pradesh, reiterated the demand for the same compensation that has been given for the land acquired in Noida and Greater Noida - Rs 880 per sq metre instead of Rs 450 per sq metre that has been offered to farmers in Aligarh and Mathura districts by the Bahujan Samaj Party government in the state.

Burning an effigy of Chief Minister Mayawati, the agitating farmers said they would continue fighting for their demand and would accept the state government's offer of talks only after the release of their arrested leader Ram Babu Kathelia.

After Sunday's incident, the district administration in Aligarh took no chances on Monday.

It ordered the closure of all schools and colleges in the district till Tuesday.

The administration is also trying to persuade the farmers to come to the negotiating table. The new police chief of Aligarh said his first priority was to restore peace in the area.

Farmers have been agitating for 19 days against the acquisition of their land for Yamuna Expressway project. Their demonstrations had remained peaceful till their leader Kathelia was arrested on Saturday.

Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh told the gathering that farmers of the state should unite and form a committee to keep the agitation on in western UP and other parts of the state.

"Farmers will not surrender. It's time a lesson was taught to Mayawati," he said.

In New Delhi, the killing of farmers in firing was raised in both Houses of Parliament.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day without transacting any business as parties opposed to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in UP, sought to corner the Mayawati government.

The situation in the Rajya Sabha was slightly better, with Question Hour taking place.

But this was followed by two brief adjournments, finally leading to the House being put off till Tuesday.

(With HTC, Delhi)