Farmer agitation over compensation for land returned to haunt the Mayawati government when about a dozen persons, including three policemen, were injured in a clash in Karchhana in Allahabad district on Friday. The farmers of Dewri Kachri village staged an indefinite dharna demanding more compensation for the land acquired for a power project being developed by the JP Group in Karchhana.

Reports said that one person was killed in police firing. This was denied by the Additional Director-General (Law and Order), Brij Lal, who said the deceased, Gulab Vishwakarma, had died of a heart attack at his home and his body was kept on the rail track by the farmers to incite others.

He said five farmers, Dina Nath Singh, Ram Bahadur Yadav, Laxmi Narain, Jagat Bahadur and Ram Narain, went on an indefinite fast on January 8, 2011 demanding increased compensation. Mr. Lal said the condition of four farmers deteriorated on Friday and they were shifted to the Allahabad District Hospital under police protection.

Incensed by the police action, about 800 farmers blocked the Allahabad-Mirzapur highway and the busy Delhi-Howrah rail route on Friday morning. Police resorted to lathi charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the farmers, who retaliated with heavy stone pelting. Assistant Superintendent of Police V.K. Mishra, Circle Officer Ashutosh and a constable were among those injured.

Two official vehicles, were also torched. Mr. Lal said efforts were underway to lift the blockade. Rapid Action Force (RAF), the police and PAC personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order.

Reports said several trains plying on the Delhi-Howrah route via Allahabad have been diverted.