Chairman of the Karnataka State Minorities Commission Khusro Quraishi met Gregory Patrao, a farmer whose land was recently acquired against his wishes by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board for Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd., here on Sunday.

KIADB officials on April 28 demolished Mr. Patrao's house, said to be 350 years old, and took possession of his land after he lost a case in the Karnataka High Court where he had challenged the notification to acquire his land.

Mr. Quraishi came here to meet Mr. Patrao in response to a memorandum from the Catholic Sabha about a week ago asking for his intervention in saving Mr. Patrao's land. Mr. Quraishi held a meeting with several officials, including Commissioner of Police Seemanth Kumar Singh, Assistant Commissioner Prabhulinga Kavalikatti, Special Land Acquisition Officer Krishnamurthy and Tahsildar C.N. Manjunath, and members of various organisations who are supporting Mr. Patrao.

Addressing presspersons after the meeting, Mr. Quraishi said that he would write to the Commissioner of Police, the district administration, and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board and seek “written explanations” for the manner in which Mr. Patrao's land was acquired.

Stressing that “industrialisation is necessary but not at the cost of agriculture”, Mr. Quraishi said, “He (Mr. Patrao) is a real farmer. We have to take care of him.”

Social activist Vidya Dinker, who took part in the meeting, told The Hindu that the belongings of Mr. Patrao's family were taken into possession by the KIADB during the April 28 operation. This matter was also discussed in the meeting, she said.

Mr. Patrao was recently elected to the Bala Gram Panchayat. Earlier, he was vice-president of the same panchayat.

Private complaint

On June 1, Mr. Patrao filed a private complaint with the Judicial Magistrate First Class II regarding the seizure of his belongings on April 28. Following this complaint, a copy of which was shared with The Hindu, the court directed Commissioner of Police to investigate the incident.

However, Mr. Singh told The Hindu on Sunday that he was “not aware” of the court's direction but would look into the matter.

The head of the of Pejawar Math, Visvesha Tirtha, said in a press release on Sunday that Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had assured him that a meeting would be held after July 2 to discuss the notification issued for the acquisition of 2,035 acres of land for the second phase of the Mangalore Special Economic Zone project. Several Ministers, including the Chief Minister and Home Minister V.S. Acharya, would participate in the meeting. Until this meeting is held, no further progress will be made in the acquisition of land, the seer said quoting Mr. Yeddyurappa.

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