Allahabad: Police, agitating farmers clash; one killed

One person was killed and several others, including three police officials, were injured in clashes between police and agitating farmers who went on a rampage and disrupted rail and road traffic for several hours.

Updated: Jan 21, 2011, 23:01 PM IST

Allahabad: One person was killed and
several others, including three police officials, were injured
in clashes between police and agitating farmers who went on a
rampage and disrupted rail and road traffic for several hours.

The farmers who were demanding better compensation
for the land acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government for a
proposed thermal power project claimed that a 50-year-old
protester was killed in police action. The charge was denied
by police but the administration made an offer of Rs 5 lakh
compensation on "compassionate grounds".
Trouble began this morning in the district`s Karchhana
tehsil, 40 kms from the city, where farmers from at least
half-a-dozen villages, whose land has been acquired, began
staging a demonstration.

The farmers were alleging that the compensation
offered by the Mayawati government in the state was
"inadequate".

The agitators alleged that they were being paid at the
rate of Rs three lakh per "bigha" of land acquired, which was
less than one-third of the circle rate.

They also pressed for raising the compensation amount
and making it on a par with what had been paid to
agriculturists displaced by way of the Delhi-Agra Yamuna
Expressway.

A police party asked the agitators to disperse as some
of them were squatting on railway tracks, which was affecting
traffic on the busy Delhi-Howrah route.

This led to a "heated exchange" following which police
resorted to "mild use of force to quell the mob", Inspector
General of Police, Allahabad Range, R P Singh said.

The use of force drew strong retaliation from the
agitators who pelted stones on the police personnel and
attacked them with lathis, the IGP said adding that three
police officials, including the Additional Superintendent of
Police (trans-Yamuna) Vinod Kumar Mishra suffered serious
injuries in the incident and were admitted to a hospital.

A number of police vehicles were also vandalised and
set ablaze by the agitated farmers following which a large
contingent of police, Provincial Armed Constabulary and Rapid
Action Force was rushed to the spot.

Meanwhile, many of the protesters squatted on the
Allahabad-Mirzapur highway, carrying the body of farmer Gulab
Vishwakarma and alleged that he died of injuries suffered due
to lathi charge and firing of rubber bullets by police.

They also claimed that "dozens" of their supporters,
including some women, had been rounded up by police and
demanded their immediate release.

However, the IGP denied that any protester had been
detained and claimed that Vishwakara died of a heart attack.
The agitation badly affected rail and road traffic
resulting in diversion of as many as 15 express trains and
cancellation of a passenger train, North Central Railway
spokesman Amit Malaviya said.

As the situation worsened, senior officials including
Divisional Commissioner P V Jaganmohan and District Magistrate
Sanjay Prasad also rushed to the spot.

Both the officials urged the agitators to call off
their protest and offered Rs five lakh as compensation to the
family of the deceased.

However, the Commissioner and the DM later told
reporters that they "stand by the view that it was a natural
death and the offer of compensation was made only to ease the
tension prevailing in the area".

They also assured the farmers that their demand for
better compensation would be conveyed to the state government
at the earliest.

However, the farmers continued with their agitation
demanding that an FIR be lodged against the police for
"attacking a peaceful demonstration".

While some of the protesters squatted on the highway
with Vishwakarma`s body placed in the middle of the road,
others resumed the demonstration on the railway tracks.

But the district officials described the situation as
"under control" and expressed confidence that normalcy would
be restored in the area soon.

PTI