The police lathi-charged farmer union members who were staging a protest outside the Noida authority’s office on Tuesday. The farmer unions were demanding a 10% share of the land acquired by the authority. The farmers claimed that they were staging a peaceful protest but the police used force and 15 of them were injured.
“Two of the union members --- Vikas Nagar and Adesh Bhati --- were badly injured in the lathicharge and are admitted to a private hospital. We just wanted to remind the authority officials about their promise to give 10% of the acquired land to the farmers. We did not have any intention of staging a violent protest. The police lathicharged us without any warning,” said Manveer Bhati, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti.
The police, however, maintained that they did not resort to lathicharge and claimed that they used ‘mild force’ to maintain peace.
“It was a minor scuffle between constables and union members. They were trying to leap over the barricade and the police personnel were trying to stop them. In the chaos, some of the union members were injured,” said Abhishek Yadav, superintendent of police (rural), Gautam Budh Nagar.
Irked by the police’s response, the farmers have decided to organise a protest in front of the authority office.
“Chief executive officer Deepak Aggarwal refused to meet us. The police worked at his behest. Now we are demanding his ouster from the authority and from Greater Noida. We will continue our protest until the police and administration take action against the policemen involved in the brutal lathicharge,” Bhati said.
The farmer’s union drew support from the residents welfare associations and civil society members. The incident was caught on camera and was widely circulated on WhatsApp. Many residents have taken to social media to condemn the excessive use of force by the police.