Rahul, Mayawati standoff in UP village
Giving the police a slip, Rahul Gandhi rode pillion on a motorcycle just before dawn today to the epicentre of violent clashes in Greater Noida and met farmers protesting Uttar Pradesh government's land acquisition policy.india Updated: May 11, 2011 19:00 IST
Giving the police a slip, Rahul Gandhi rode pillion on a motorcycle just before dawn on Wednesday to the epicentre of violent clashes in Greater Noida and met farmers protesting Uttar Pradesh government's land acquisition policy.
Meanwhile, the Congress came down heavily on the BJP for terming Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's visit to an Uttar Pradesh farmers' village as "drama" and said "no one can question the motive" behind it.
The strong police force deployed at the Bhatta Parsaul village, which witnessed violent clashes between the police and farmers, apparently failed to notice the Congress general secretary when he reached the Delhi suburb in a mobike at around 4am.
It was only when he began meeting farmers and heard their grievances that the policemen recognised the young Congress leader, who has often slipped out of his security cordon in the past to meet people. The identity of the driver of the mobike was not known immediately.
An elderly woman told the AICC general secretary how "brutally PAC men had manhandled the women members of the family in the name of conducting a search" after the clashes broke out.
Another elderly man showed injuries on his body inflicted allegedly due to the baton charge by policemen.
Rahul assured the farmers full support and promised that they will get proper land compensation, according to the villagers.
While blaming Mayawati's BSP government for the atrocities committed on farmers, he requested the farmers to shun violence, they said.
After four persons, including two policemen, were killed in Saturday's clashes between police and farmers in Greater Noida, the place has turned into a political battleground for political parties. The opposition has flayed the UP government for its land acquisition policy.
The Amethi MP had last year visited Tappal Village in Aligarh district taking the local police by surprise when he went to meet farmers who had launched a protest demanding higher compensation for the land acquired by the Mayawati government for the Yamuna expressway project.
Farmers in Greater Noida and adjoining areas are demanding more compensation from the Mayawati government for their land.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Tuesday assured a delegation of Rashtriya Lok Dal leaders in Delhi that the Government will move the crucial bill to amend the Land Acquisition Act in the coming session of Parliament.
Condemning police action on farmers in Gautam Buddha Nagar, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi had on Tuesday demanded that a new law for rehabilitation of people displaced by land acquisition should be framed.
"Taking farmers' land at a cheaper rates and permitting industrialists to misuse it is wrong," Joshi had said.
In the wake of the ongoing agitation over land acquisition, farmers held a panchayat under the leadership of Jitender Nagar in Mahrauli village of Ghaziabad district on Tuesday and refused to part with their land.
The farmers went on a door-to-door campaign to mobilise support and asked villagers to press the government to give them back their acquired land.
"He (Rahul Gandhi) is going there as an MP from Uttar Pradesh. He is going there as a leader of the ruling party of this country and people can't question his motives and his right to do this," Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs Salman Khursheed told reporters here.
Khursheed was referring to BJP leader Rajnath Singh's charges that the visit to the Bhatta Parsaul village in Uttar Pradesh's Greater Noida was a "drama" and that his visit had created a "law and order" situation there.
"If he can't do this, what else can he do? I think it's completely irresponsible for anyone to say that he has no right to go there," the minister added.