Deve Gowda urges DC to withdraw cases booked against farmers

Janata Dal (Secular) workers, under the leadership of party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, and village residents took out a march in Chikmagalur on Monday to protest the police lathi-charge on farmers of Shivapura and neighbouring villages in Emmedoddi gram panchayat limits on September 12.

They took out the march through the streets of Chikmagalur before staging a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Police had resorted to a lathi-charge to disperse a group of farmers, who had opposed the planting of Nilgiri saplings on Amruth Mahal Kaval (traditional grazing land) by the Forest Department. Several people, including three policemen, were injured in the clashes that followed the lathi-charge.

Officials claimed that the land belonged to the Forest Department. However, farmers argued that it was Amruth Mahal Kaval (traditional grazing land) and many of them had been cultivating it for several years. The police had arrested 26 farmers, following the clashes. They have been remanded in judicial custody.

Kadur MLA Y.S.V. Datta, who led the procession, said that the land in question was originally grazing land. “There are no records to prove that it belonged to the Forest Department. The farmers have moved the court claiming their right to cultivate the land. Even as the petition was pending before the Assistant Commissioner’s court, the officials took up planting of sapling in the villages,” he alleged.

Addressing the protesters, Mr. Gowda said that he was aware of the issue as he had visited several villages and listened to the farmers. “I will continue to fight for the rights of farmers, who have been cultivating the land. The Forest Department has no authority to take over,” he said. Later, Mr. Gowda met Deputy Commissioner B.S. Shekharappa. He appealed to the official to withdraw cases booked against the farmers.

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