Special Correspondent

SHIMOGA: Farmers of Esuru in Shikaripur taluk, accompanied by Congress leaders, took out a “padayatra” from their village to the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Thursday unmindful of incessant rain to protest against eviction of “bagair hokum” cultivators in the taluk.

They were shouting slogans against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Shimoga MP B.Y. Raghavendra .

Nearly 60 farmers, including women, who tried to block a road during the protest were taken into custody by the police. However, they were released.

The protesters alleged that Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Raghavendra were keeping mum over the issue and this had irked the farmers of the taluk. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee member Nagarada Mahadevappa and former gram panchayat member Esur Basavaraj, who led the protesters, said the State Government was adopting “anti-Dalit” attitude, and no government officers could put down the right for land. The Government should review the problem and provide land to the landless, they said. They said that the agitation would continue till “justice” was done to the farmers.

According to Conservator of Forests Brijesh Kumar, farmers who were cultivating on “bagair hokum” land in forest areas are being evacuated. Land measuring 561 acres in survey no. 104 belonged to Forest Department and all documents related to this land were available with the department, he said.