New Delhi: Extending full support to the agitating farmers of Bhatta Parsaul village in Greater Noida, the Congress party on Thursday demanded a judicial probe into the atrocities committed by the police at the behest of Uttar Pradesh government.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, AICC General Secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Uttar Pradesh, Digvijay Singh said, “The Congress party demands a judicial inquiry into the brutal and barbaric treatment of farmers protesting against the forceful acquisition of their lands by the Mayawati government in Noida.”
Continuing his attack on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Singh said, “I have never seen such brutality and barbarity in 40 years of my political career. The use of force on the innocent farmers demanding adequate compensation for their acquired land is highly unfortunate.”
"If it can justify the actions of police why is the state government not ordering a judicial probe into the matter? Singh asked, adding, “Our demand is clear. We want a judicial inquiry by a retired judge into this incident.”
Singh told reporters that the Mayawati government was skirting the main issue and playing cheap politics at the cost of poor farmers.
Driving home his point, Singh claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government was acquiring land at cheaper rates which was later being sold at Rs 3000 per sqm by "Chief Minister Mayawati`s family" to private companies.
Singh, while maintaining that the Congress party is strictly against the forcible acquisition of land belonging to poor farmers, demanded that their consent must be taken before acquiring their lands.
He also demanded the state government should immediately release those farmers and poor villagers who were arrested by the police during last week’s protests. Also the police should withdraw all the cases registered against them.
“The government should take no action against the farmers facing police cases till the completion of the judicial inquiry,” Singh stated.
Singh further demanded that the state government should meet the demands of the agitating farmers and give them adequate compensation.
“The family of policemen, who died during the violent clashes between the farmers and the police, were given Rs five lakhs in compensation but the poor farmers, who suffered huge losses due to the ongoing stir and lost their family members, were not given a single paisa by the state government, “ he said.
Describing Mayawati as daulat ki beti, Singh said that she cannot dismiss Rahul Gandhi`s dharna in Greater Noida as "mean theatrics”.
“I would want to ask what a national political party is supposed to do if not politics,” Singh questioned.
"Injustice is being meted out to farmers whose land is being acquired at rates as cheap as Rs 800-900 per sqm. There is a bigger scam under which the land is being resold at Rs 3000 per sqm in collusion with officials," he alleged.
Seeking to draw parallels, Singh said there were no complaints from farmers in neighbouring Haryana, where land was being acquired for development projects by a Congress-led government.
"This is the difference between a Congress-led government and a BSP-led government," he said.
Strong reactions from the Congress party came hours after Mayawati charged the opposition parties for attempting to disturb law and order situation and misleading people.
“Bhatta Parsaul incident is an example of their dirty politics," Mayawati told reporters in Lucknow.
She said that the farmers of Bhatta Parsaul village – the epicentre of the stir where Rahul Gandhi sat on a dharna yesterday – had given their land willingly not to any private developer, as was being alleged, but to the Greater Noida Development Authority for development as per the master plan.
“The land was acquired in 2009-2010 and adequate compensation was given to all the farmers. Opposition parties are now raking up the issue as they want to malign the state government ahead of the upcoming Assembly Elections in the state,” she said.