The Samajwadi Party government has withdrawn criminal cases against 24 farmers that were slapped during the Mayawati regime for alleged violence at Tappal in Aligarh in August 2010. The government on Friday said the charges, framed when farmers of neighbouring Mathura protested acquisition of their land for the Noida-Agra Yamuna Expressway, were fake.
Five farmers were killed at Ghodi Bachheda in Greater Noida in 2008 in a police firing when they protested, seeking greater price for their land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway. Five farmers were killed in 2010 at Tappal. Two farmers and two policemen were killed at Bhatt-Parsaul in Greater Noida when clashes broke out over land acquisition by the Yamuna Expressway authority.
At his election rallies here, Akhilesh said the Mayawati government had committed maximum atrocities against the farmers in Greater Noida. He said the government snatched land from farmers and sold it to property dealers and no industry came up in the last five years. Akhilesh had promised if a Samajwadi Party government came to power in UP, he would withdraw all criminal cases lodged against farmers, who, he said, basically fought for their land.
The move has fuelled hopes “for justice” among the farmers of Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida, cases against whom were also lodged on similar charges during the previous dispensation. “A beginning has been made from Tappal. We’re hoping for a similar relief for the farmers in Bhatta-Parsaul, too,” said a farmer, Asharam (40). Both Bhatta and Tappal agitations had assumed political overtones because of the involvement of several leaders, including Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
The state government in a statement issued on Friday said, “During inquiry it was found that the district (Aligarh) administration had registered fake cases against farmers”. The government said that cases were registered against innocent farmers. The government said the farmers, who were holding a peaceful agitation to protect their interests, were victims of police action and later cases were slapped on them. The government said that apart from violation of farmers’ civil rights, the accused were unnecessarily harassed. The cases were pending in a Mathura court.
The government found that the violence was not criminal. The government said all the witnesses and petitioners and investigators were from the government to serve their interests. The government said that the cases were one-sided. Thus the government decided to withdraw them.
But withdrawal of charges against the farmers of Bhatta-Parsaul will not be that easy. The Allahabad high court in March said the state criminal investigation department (CID) would look into the violence. The court also said it would monitor the investigation. “Because of these facts, the government may not do a Tappal in the case of Bhatta-Parsaul,” said a senior official. On court orders, two FIRs have already been lodged against policemen for alleged rapes and violence at Bhatta-Parsaul on May 7, last year.