The district administration is trying to divide farmers to take the sting out of the ongoing agitation. On Monday, the DM and the SSP claimed to have persuaded farmers in Mirzapur, Greater Noida, into staying off the stir.
The two officers could do so by promising no case would be lodged against Mirzapur farmers. They also promised that the current cases will be withdrawn. On Saturday, farmers and policemen fought a pitched battle in Mirzapur, torching vehicles and injuring many from both sides.
But in Bhatta-Parsaul, farmers got enraged on Monday when they saw a police group approaching. They thought the cops were out to conduct searches. The police had to change their route. Farmer leader Manveer Singh Tevatia said farmers should not be misled by the administration and they must continue with the agitation.
The stir has been continuing for more than two months now. They are protesting against land acquisition for construction of a toll road between Greater Noida and Agra, besides other projects. Several rounds of talks with government representatives have failed to end the deadlock. Farmers at Bhatta village on Monday were waiting for JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, but he could not reach the dharna site. The whole day, local leaders gave speeches appealing to villagers not to fall in the administration's trap, which has been “working on a divide and rule theory”.
Villagers said they have no choice but to continue with the protest. "Many cases have been registered against us. If we loosen our grip on the agitation, they will arrest us," said a farmer. Seeing the ‘Naxalite’ pattern being followed by Bhatta farmers, the administration has become strict and deployed additional police forces. Villagers have been told to surrender their weapons, otherwise FIRs will be registered against them.