Congress demands judicial probe into farmer-police clash
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh today demanded a probe by a senior retired judge into the violent clashes between farmers and the police in a Gurgaon village over land acquisition for a expressway development project.india Updated: May 11, 2011 14:49 IST
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Wednesday demanded a probe by a senior retired judge into the violent clashes between farmers and the police in a Gurgaon village over land acquisition for a expressway development project.
He said the Congress had begun its dharna at Bhatta-Parsaul and Achhepur areas and it would continue and that Rahul Gandhi would not leave the village till the state government met the party's (Congress') demands and local officials came to talk to him.
Asked to elaborate on the demands, Singh said, "Till the probe demanded by us is not complete, no penal action should be taken by the administration against the farmers named in the FIRs lodged after Saturday's violence, those arrested and sent to jail should be released immediately and no land should be acquired without the consent of farmers."
The Congress leader said he had found, during his stay at the trouble-hit areas, that atrocities had been committed against farmers, they were framed in false criminal cases and compelled to sell their land to the government at astonishingly cheap prices and in Uttar Pradesh no land acquisition could be done without using lathis and bullets.
"In the adjoining areas of Gurgaon, the process of land acquisition is much smoother because a Congress government is in charge of Haryana. The UP government should follow that model which provides for acquisition of land at market rates and an annual compensation to farmers for 37 years."
Asked why the UPA government at the Centre was not amending the central land acquisition act, Singh said, "UPA chairperson raised the issue for the first time and it was because of her efforts that a draft was prepared to effect changes to the exiting act. In the 2004-2009 Parliament, the BJP protested the move and it could not passed in the upper house. This time around Mamataa Banerjee of the TMC opposed it during a cabinet meeting of UPA II. We will soon do the needful."
"But even in the current act, it's nowhere written that land will be acquired forcibly from farmers. It's the UP state government which is doing so in order to amass wealth at the cost of farmers' interests."
He said farmers had demanded greater compensation for the land acquired by the state government, ex gratia to the next of the kin of those killed in the police firing and compensation to those whose houses, property and crops were destroyed by the police.
"It's true that 70-75% of the farmers have been paid land compensation but they should also benefit from the rehabilitation policy that the state government announced after violence at Tappal in Aligarh last year," Singh said.
He accused the state government of buying land at Rs 550 per sqm and selling it to builders at Rs 3,000 per sqm to amass wealth with help of state officials.
"I was in Varanasi. When I reached New Delhi railway station I got to know that Rahul Gandhi reached Bhatta at 4.30am. I also left for the village and joined him at 10.30am."