Farmers in Bhatta-Parsaul villages saw a new ray of hope after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi took their plight to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, five days after his dramatic motorcycle pillion-ride visit to the area.
After clashes between the police and farmers agitating over Uttar Pradesh government’s land acquisition policies 10 days ago — during which two farmers and two policemen were killed — Bhatta residents were slowly resigning themselves to fate amid continued police presence and dwindling visits of leaders.
“Though men, who had fled the village fearing a police backlash, began returning home to destruction, we were mostly picking up pieces with no real hope that our issues would be addressed,” said a farmer.
A family member of a farmer killed in the clashes said, “After Gandhi was detained on May 11 and sent back to Delhi, hopes started diminishing. We’re hopeful again.”
“We have just heard that he (Gandhi) has taken some farmers from Bhatta to the PM and discussed the issue. So far, nobody listened to us. The PM should intervene now,” he said. Even as Gandhi took up the farmers’ cause with the Prime Minister, more than 400 Congress workers tried to enter Bhatta to protest his detention earlier.
They were taken into custody and later released. At Vaidpura, villagers burnt an effigy of chief minister Mayawati.
At several other places in Greater Noida, farmers held panchayats and resolved to protest land acquisition.