‘Farmers seem to have been misled on the facts’

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who has ordered a magisterial inquiry into Saturday’s police firing in Kudgi village in Bijapur district, on Sunday attributed the farmers’ outrage against the establishment of a thermal power plant to them being misled on the facts. He, however, did not point fingers at any individual or organisation.

He said he would wait for the inquiry report before attributing the bullet injuries suffered by two farmers to police firing.

Opposing power plant

Chandrappa Pujeri and Sadashiv Ganachari, both 45-year-old farmers of Masuti village, were injured when the police opened fire during the protest in Kudgi. They were part of a large group of farmers who were protesting against the establishment of a National Thermal Power Corporation’s plant in Kudgi. The protest was organised when NTPC director S.C. Pandey was on a visit to the plant site along with nearly 40 engineers.

Quoting doctors, Mr. Siddaramaiah said there was no threat to the life of the two farmers and their condition was stable. The government would bear the cost of their treatment.

“...we have asked KLE Prabhakar Kore Hospital management to ensure that the two farmers get the best treatment,” Mr. Siddaramaiah told presspersons after visiting them here on Sunday. A sub-inspector, and a few police personnel and farmers were also injured in the violent protest.

The police had not anticipated a large number of farmers to turn up because small groups had been organising protests against the plant in the past, the Chief Minister said.

It appears that the farmers were misled, resulting in such a sudden and large gathering, he said. When the protesters tried to enter the plant site, the police burst teargas shells, cane charged them and “fired in the air” to disperse them, he said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the State government had only provided land for the project taken up by the Centre through NTPC to generate 2,400 MW of power. The work on the plant started over a year ago. But the farmers seem to have been misled on the facts, he said. They should realise that the State needs energy even for the agriculture sector, the Chief Minister said.

He was accompanied by Home Minister K.J. George, Minister for Law and Justice T.B. Jayachandra, Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) M.N. Reddi and ADGP (Intelligence) Ashit Mohan Prasad.

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