UP farmers' fury spreads, toll goes up

Mayawati govt announces reward of Rs 50,000 for information on Tewatia

UP farmers' fury spreads, toll goes up

The UP government on Sunday announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on farmers’ leader Manveer Singh Tewatia who has been charged with inciting violence in Greater Noida, where the agitators clashed with the police on Saturday resulting in the death of three people, including two policemen.

The number of death during Saturday’s clash has gone up to four with the death of one more farmer at a hospital, police said on Sunday.

The police, stunned by the scale of the violence, launched a house-to-house search operation in the two villages of Bhatta and Parsaul on Sunday to unearth “illegal arms” and apprehend the trouble makers. The two villages have been been out-of-bounds for the media, officials said.

The men have already fled fearing arrest and only women and children remained in villages. Many women were seen complaining that the police had ransacked their houses and misbehaved with them.

UP cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh, however, denied that the trouble at Agra and Aligarh had anything to do with land acquisition and charged the opposition parties with inciting the farmer for their “vested interests”.

The Congress, BJP, RLD and Samajwadi Party have demanded resignation of Chief Minister Mayawati.

Under attack from the opposition for the violence, the UP government has transferred Surya Pratap Singh as the Senior Superintendent of Police of Noida. Rajiv Sabrawal has taken charge of the Greater Noida district.

The agitation of the farmers, however, spread further to Agra and Aligarh, where the farmers fought pitched battles with the police and torched several vehicles of a construction company demanding enhanced compensation for their lands. The latest incidents were triggered by news of farmer-police clashes in Noida, bordering Delhi, and anger at Jaypee’s officials who villagers said had demolished a temple in Garhi Rami two days ago.

Farmers want increased financial compensation for land they say has been forcibly taken away from them to build the Expressway.

The Yamuna Expressway, when it is built, is set to cut travelling time from Greater Noida to the Taj Mahal town of Agra to just about 90 minutes.

The project would be complete before November-end.

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