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Farmers' protest turns violent in Noida: 4 killed, 50 hurt

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | August 13, 2008 18:28 IST
Last Updated: August 13, 2008 20:39 IST


Four persons were reportedly killed and over 50 injured in Noida on Wednesday, when the police opened fire at a group of farmers, who were protesting the inadequate compensation being paid for their land.

The Uttar Pradesh [Images] government had acquired the land from the farmers in 2006. The protests turned violent when the farmers started pelting stones at the policemen, injuring a few of them, including Senior Superintendent of Police R K Chaturvedi.

Reports said the fourth victim was a policeman but there was no official confirmation.
   
Security personnel resorted to lathicharge and lobbed teargas shells to rein in the mob, said Chaturvedi.

"Four persons were killed in the incident. But we have no information about any casualty on our side," he said.
 
Inspector General (Meerut) Gyan Singh claimed that some protestors were carrying illegal firearms. "If they had not opened fire, the police would have remained calm. They were stopped at various places but they overpowered us. They were really aggressive, keen to fight," he said.

Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal blamed the local administration for the incident, saying it mishandled the situation.

The deaths have already triggered off a political blame game, with the Mayawati [Images] government calling the protesting farmers 'anti-social' and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav [Images] terming the incident 'barbaric'.

While clarifying that the Greater Noida incident had nothing to do with Chief Minister Mayawati's native village Badalpur, where farmers had earlier protested against 'poor compensation' for government-acquired land, principal secretary to Chief Minister Mayawati V S Pandey told mediapersons that the demand of protesting farmers was unjustified.

"As against the officially settled compensation of Rs 406 per sq metre, we paid the farmers Rs 850 per sq metre. But after being instigated by some interested parties, they began demanding a higher payment," Pandey said.

"When they were prevented from entering the Greater Noida office, they started pelting stones on the policemen, injuring many of them. The policemen had to use force (read firing) to disperse the crowd," he added.

Shortly after the incident, Mulayam Singh convened a press conference and flayed the Mayawati government for 'unleashing terror on innocent and peaceful farmers'.

Pointing out that there were nearly 200 villages and thousands of farmers affected by Mayawati's 'anti-farmer' land acquisition policy, he condemned the government for taking away the agricultural land from farmers and selling them to developers and builders.

The Samajwadi Party chief demanded a compensation of at least Rs 10 lakh for the kin of those killed in the firing.

Additional Reportage by PTI






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