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UP farmers' fury spreads, toll rises to 4

Last updated on: May 08, 2011 20:20 IST

The protest by farmers on Sunday spread to areas beyond Noida and Greater Noida where large scale violence left four dead and several injured on Saturday.

Raising their battle cry of  'inadequate compensation', farmers resorted to arson and stone pelting in villages of the neighbouring districts of Aligarh and Agra where land was being  acquired for building the 165-km Yamuna expressway, aimed at connecting Delhi and Agra.

Even as heavy police deployment in the Bhatta-Parsaul village of Greater Noida kept protestors away on Sunday, their compatriots in Aligarh and Agra districts chose to rose up in arms , resorting to arson and violence.

Undeterred by the presence of the armed police, farmers burnt down vehicles and generators belonging to Jaypee Industries that  was entrusted with the task of building the much hyped expressway.

"We are simply demanding a rightful compensation for our land being acquired to build the Yamuna Expressway," farmer leader CP Singh of Zikarpur village in Aligarh told over telephone.

"While farmers were paid at the rate of Rs 6000 per square metre in Noida and in parts of Greater Noida, we were being offered a compensation of Rs 400-Rs 600 per sq metre in villages falling under Aligarh district , that was grossly unfair and unjustified," he asserted.

UP Chief Minister Mayawati, however, sought to dismiss the agitation as "politically motivated".

Conveying her views at a press

conference, state cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said on Sunday evening, "The chief minister has reason to blame political parties for instigating the farmers to create trouble."

Refuting the charge of "inadequate compensation", he said, "there was no question of inadequate compensation as the price for acquisition of land was fixed through a mutually-agreed settlement between the farmer and the party involved." 

Singh sought to clarify, "All land along the Yamuna expressway was directly acquired by the authorised contractor under the state government's policy of a mutually settled price in which the state government had no role other than that of a facilitator to play."

He said, "Certain vested interests were trying to politicize the whole issue by spreading all kinds of canard."

Meanwhile, declaring the farmers' key leader Manveer Singh Teotia as "absconder", the state police have not only launched a manhunt for him but have also announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on him.

Teotia was leading the band of farmers who on Saturday held some state government employees hostage in Greater Noida, which triggered the day-long violent clashes in the Bhatta-Parsaul village. Besides others, Saturday's clashes had left both District Magistrate Deepal Agarwal and senior superintendent of police Surya Narain Singh injured.

All major opposition parties, including the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal have flayed the Mayawati government for "using brute force" against the farmers.

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow