Dozen injured in clash between farmers and police
Within 12 hours of the Uttar Pradesh government brokering a midnight deal with the agitating farmers of Tappal in Aligarh district, violence broke out on Tuesday at Etmadpur in neighbouring Agra district, where farmers fought a pitched battle with the police demanding more compensation for lands.
The Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Agra and the Tehsildar were among the dozen injured in the clash. The condition of four farmers is stated to be critical.
Hundreds of farmers of Chauguna, Khalesar and Garhi Rahni villages blocked road traffic around noon and started throwing stones at police, who used force to disperse mobs.
The farmers were demanding compensation similar to the sum paid to their Noida counterparts (Rs.950 a square metre) for the land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway project.
Additional Director-General (Law and Order) Brij Lal said 27 farmers' representatives of the three villages were engaged in talks with Commissioner of the Agra Division, Sudhir Bobade, and the DIG to find a solution to the impasse. The situation at Etmadpur is under control.
Put on the back foot by the farmers' violent protests and the Opposition parties uniting on the issue, the Mayawati government offered to increase the compensation from Rs.450 a square metre to Rs.570 a square metre. The deal was clinched in Aligarh at 2 a.m. by Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh and representatives of farmers of the Tappal area. Mr. Brij Lal and farmers' leader Ram Babu Kathelia were present.
Mr. Kathelia was arrested on August 14 after the violence in the villages under the Tappal police station, in which three farmers and a policeman of the Provisional Armed Constabulary were killed.
Ministers Jaiveer Singh and Chaudhary Lakshmi Narain, along with BSP MLA from Kol Mahendra Singh, were billeted in a guesthouse on Khair Road in Aligarh, trying to thrash out a deal with farmers.
The government also agreed to increase the compensation from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.10 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs.2 lakh for the injured. Mr. Shashank Shekhar Singh also announced that lands of those who do not want to part with it would not be acquired.
The lands of about 1,182 villages in the districts of Agra, Mathura, Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar (Hathras) and Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida) have been notified by the State for acquisition to build the 165-km-long Yamuna Expressway (the formerly Taj Expressway), from Greater Noida to Agra. Since the lands to be handed over to the developers, JP Group, are being acquired by the government, the compensation is being paid to farmers by the State.