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Farmer fury spreads, death toll is four

Sunday May 08, 2011 07:33:57 PM, IANS

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Farmers stir turns violent, top official shot

An operation to rescue three government staffers held hostage here by farmers demanding better compensation for their land turned horribly wrong Saturday when the Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate was injured in a cross-firing between police and the protesters  »

Agra/Greater Noida: Farmers' fury over land takeover spread Sunday to Agra in Uttar Pradesh as the number of dead in clashes with security forces in Greater Noida rose to four, officials said.

Angry farmers in Agra's Etmadpur tehsil went on a rampage Sunday, pelting stones at police and setting fire to vehicles and furniture of the Jaypee group's Yamuna Express Highway camp office.

Violence was reported from two spots near Chalesar and Etmadpur. Police said the situation had been brought under control.

Director General of Police Aseem Arun said two policemen had been hurt in the violence and two police vehicles were damaged.

The latest incidents were triggered by news of farmer-police clashes in Noida, bordering Delhi, and anger at Jaypee's officials who villagers said had demolished a temple in Garhi Rami two days ago.

Farmers want increased financial compensation for land they say has been forcibly taken away from them to build the Expressway.

The Yamuna Expressway, when it is built, is set to cut travelling time from Greater Noida to the Taj Mahal town of Agra to just about 90 minutes.
Company officials say the project would be complete before November-end.

Meanwhile, the death toll in farmer protests in Bhatta Parsaol in Greater Noida Saturday has risen to four. They are two farmers and two policemen.

The fourth victim was identified as a farmer who succumbed to his bullet injuries in Kailash Hospital in Greater Noida.

The deceased policemen were identified as Manohar Singh and Manveer Singh. The other dead farmer was Hari Om.

Under attack from the opposition for the violence, the Uttar Pradesh government has transferred Surya Pratap Singh as the Senior Superintendent of Police of Noida.

Rajiv Sabrawal has taken charge of the Greater Noida district, police sources said.

Police have announced a reward of Rs.50,000 for the arrest of farmer leader Manvir Singh Teotia who is being blamed for for Saturday's clashes.

Police officers said that Teotia hailed from Bulandshahr district and did not own any farm land in the village and had not been victimized in any manner.

But he registered his presence at every farmer protests in Tappal, Mathura and now Bhatta Parsaul.

Fifteen people were also critically injured Saturday in the clashes between farmers and security forces. The district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar, Deepak Agrawal, was shot at.

Agrawal has been admitted to Kailash Hospital in Greater Noida, said Sub Division Magistrate Vishal Singh.

The otherwise peaceful protests by farmers took a violent turn when the police tried to rescue three Uttar Pradesh Roadways employees from farmers who had taken them hostage. The hostages escaped.

But this happened only after firing between the outnumbered security forces and farmers, who aimed their guns from rooftops.

A police officer accused Teotia of derailing all attempts by the district administration to settle what he described as the peace accord between the farmers and the government.

The All India Kisan Sabha has condemned "the police brutalities in Bhatta Parsaul village against the farmers protesting against unjust land acquisition".

"The farmers ... have been seeking adequate compensation for the land acquired, rehabilitation and resettlement. However, the state government has been indifferent to their demands and resorting to selling land acquired on the pretext of industrialisation to private builders for real estate purposes," it said.





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