The Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday said a process had been initiated to withdraw criminals charges leveled against farmers at Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida. Urban development minister Azam Khan, who visited the twin villages on Sunday, said, “The matter is under consideration at the government level.”
Khan said, “The government will consider, with full sympathy, all valid demands of farmers and they will be conceded at the earliest.” On Saturday, Khan said in Greater Noida, “We are asking the police to drop all the cases filed against farmers.
Early this month, the Samajwadi Party government withdrew criminal cases against 24 farmers that were slapped during the Mayawati regime for alleged violence at Tappal in Aligarh in August 2010. The government 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 Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida when clashes broke out over land acquisition by the Yamuna Expressway authority.
Both Bhatta and Tappal agitations had assumed political overtones because of the involvement of several leaders, including Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
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. On court orders, two FIRs have already been lodged against policemen for alleged rapes and violence at Bhatta-Parsaul on May 7, last year.
Nutan Tevatia, wife of jailed farmer leader Manvir Singh Tevatia, who spearheaded the Bhatta agitation, and some farmers gave the minister a memorandum requesting for withdrawal of cases. The minister said, “All cases against farmers will be withdrawn. A process is on. The UP chief minister has issued written directions.” He told farmers, “Jaisa chahoge vaisa hoga. (We will do what you want).”