Protesting villages under siege

Police cordon off Greater Noida villages demanding enhanced land compensation; death toll may be more than the initial reports

 
By Jyotika Sood
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

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Three days after violent clashes broke out between police personnel and farmers in Bhatta and Parsol villages in Greater Noida near Delhi, the residents of the villages were under virtual house arrest. The two adjoining villages in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh was cordoned off by police personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF); media-persons were not allowed to enter the villages. Three fire-tenders lined the entrance of the villages. One tender was being used to douse flames in a charred building.

 

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Ram Lal Nath (name changed), a priest and an eyewitness to the clashes says a lot of blood was shed in the past two days also. The clashes and exchange of gunfire began when the police went to rescue three Uttar Pradesh Roadways employees on May 7. The Roadways employees were being held hostage by farmers of these villages who have been protesting against land acquisition for the Yamuna Expressway project, which will connect Noida with Agra. The clashes on May 7 led to houses, vehicles and fields being set on fire. Two policemen and a farmer were killed that day and around 15 persons, including Deepak Aggarwal, the district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar, were injured. Aggarwal sustained a bullet wound on his leg.

“There was exchange of fire in the past two days and must have cost lives, but no one has a count as people are not being allowed to enter the village,” says Nath. He has been living in the village for the past 11 years. He says has never seen such a situation where the villagers are not even allowed to step out of their houses.

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Inderjit Kumar, a farmer from a nearby village says, the situation is tense in four villages—Bhatta, Parsol, Ashipur and Muttana. “We are keeping in touch with our fellow farmers in these villages through mobile phones and many of them are injured and hiding in their houses fearing for their lives,” he says. He alleged that the police was very brutal and beat men and women mercilessly on May 7 and 8 when there were clashes. There must be around 5,000 police personnel deployed around these villages, he adds.

Nath says scores of residents are missing and no-one has a clue to their whereabouts. “In the past two days, I have heard cries, slogan shouting and exchange of abuses between farmers and police personnel. There are only children and women, men of villages are either absconding, missing or have been arrested by the police,” says Nath while hurrying away at the sight of approaching policemen.

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Ascertaining the casualty at this point of time is difficult. “Nobody is allowed to enter the village and the official figures cannot be believed,” says Mahendar Singh Charoli of Charoli village nearby. The build up to the clashes began in January this year when Manveer Singh Tevatia, a resident, decided to lead the farmers of Bhatta and Parsol villages. He told the farmers that Uttar Pradesh government had paid them peanuts—Rs 800 per metre—for their fertile land under the land acquisition policy whereas the market price of their land is around Rs 16,000 per metre. This agitated farmers and they decided to protest. On January 17, a dharna was held by the farmers of these villages. The protests continued over the subsequent weeks.

The dissatisfaction over compensation is increasing by the day and all the villages have decided to unite on the matter. Mahendar Singh, who is also vice-president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) of Uttar Pradesh-wing, announced a Mahaypanchayat would be held on May 12 to decide what course of action should be adopted by farmers of the Gautam Budh district. “Let all the panchayats come together and decide what should be our demands,” he says.

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Police officials say more than 30 people have been arrested from the villages; residents allege more than 150 people from the four villages are missing. A body was reportedly recovered from a pool near Bhatta and Parsol but there was no official confirmation about it.

BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, son of farmer leader Mahendar Singh Tikait, says the time has come for the government to decide a policy on land acquisition in order to avoid such incidents in future. “In case this is not resolved soon, it can worsen the situation as farmers are already reeling under insecurity.” The farmer leader was arrested by police on May 8 when he tried to meet farmers of the affected villages.

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  • Sub: Regarding loss of Agro

    Sub: Regarding loss of Agro Lands in Mother India and increased forest lands being destroyed

    Government of India save forests and agro lands
    Namaskar and Respected Pranams to You and all others.

    The last decade has seen unprecedented Industrialization and development in India, but at what cost is the big question. Sir please go through the so called some of the development which has come in various newspapers and media:

    1. Pollavaram Hydro 4,000 heactartes of forests and additioonally lands of the villages
    1A. Lavsa project on 10,000 acres
    2. Jaitpur project on ?????? acres
    3. Notorious new Navi Mumbai airport set to kill mango grooves and other greenery of 500 plus acres
    4. UP express way destroying 1800 acres
    5. 40,000 acres in Karnataka for steel companies
    6. A P project destroying 2000 plus acres
    7. Bangalore Development Authority wants to establish new multiple layouts and the land they require is more than 15,000 acres.
    8. BDA wants to develop peripheral and other roads for which they need 3,000 plus acres
    9. Mysore development Authority and other towns they all want lands of more than 200 acres for townships
    10. KIADB and other Karnataka Government agencies wants more than 1 lakh acres land for their industrialization, power plants, SEZs, etc.
    11. Near Nandi Hills 10,000 cares for IT corridor.
    12. New airports are planned in Bellary, Punjab (2 international airports), Meerut, Maharastra etc.
    13. Karnataka Govt is planning to give 1600 cares for a entertainment city and they per day require 9 lakh liters of water
    14. In. T. N. (TIDCO Web site) more than 10 SEZ are in pipeline.
    15. National Highway Authority wants to build per day 20 kms expressway and I kms expressway consumes minimum ?? acres of land.
    16. In Orissa one Vedanta group, POSCO they are demanding more than 30,000 plus acres of agro and forest lands.
    17. The railways wants more land for more doubling work.
    18. Many private builders want to build very luxurious townships catering to the rich and elites, Jaiprakash/ DLF / etc.
    19. The list is endless..(Please visit the Ministry of environment for projects approval) , also please visit the Ministry of National Highways to see the Land acquisition.

    Dear all concerned my deep concern is if prayer to you all is if each day agro land is destroyed, ÔÇ£farmers and rural economy will declineÔÇØ, farmers have to migrate for jobs, agro, livestock, dairy, floriculture etc. will all decline. What happens is agro produce will decline, prices will raise the growing cost of food prices all will affect.

    The Massive Industrialisation dreams of Karnataka requires so much water where will we get the water, what about basic needs.

    Sir in Say Kerala and Karnataka Western Coasts each development will destroy hundreds of coconut trees, mango, Jackfruit, etc. thus overall decline in produce, this applies to all other produce.

    Dear all is not Gandhian Simple living and Rural Industry the right concept without disturbing the sound, strong sustainable agri forest economy.

    My humble prayer to all is please initiate debates, TC channels conduct shows to elicit views about this impact, my request to Govt of India is please fix up percentage and donÔÇÖt at any cost dilute it like:

    Total Land in India 100 units
    Agri /Grass lands, Dry lands, Wet lands etc.. 40 Units
    Forests, parks, Mango grooves, etc.. 40 units
    All development, mining, sez, infrastructure etc. 20 units

    Please I beg with folded hands to help the Indian Agro and forest eco systems and see all humanity and lives get good food, water, etc.

    God Bless You All.

    Thanking you,

    Yours truly,

    G.Srinivas,

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply