Farmer dies in protest to save his land

 A farmer, who had been on an indefinite dharna against the acquisition of his land in Kannauj died at a hospital, triggering huge protests by villagers.

Forty-five-year-old Baburam Verma, a resident of Himnapur village in the district, had fallen sick after spending about 40 days at the protest site. He was later admitted to a hospital in Kanpur town.

Scores of farmers have been agitating against acquisition of their land for Lucknow-Agra Expressway, which was Akhilesh's dream project. Kannauj is the Lok Sabha constituency of Chief Minister’s wife Dimple Yadav.

Verma died at the hospital on Sunday night. The family of the farmers alleged that though he had fallen sick a week back, local authorities did not bother to send a medical team to check him and other agitating farmers.

The local villagers held a protest demonstration after the farmer’s body arrived at the village on Monday. As a large number of farmers from the nearby villages also joined the protest, the administration called in additional security personnel from other police stations, the police said.

The protesters relented when Local Samajwadi Party legislator Anil Dohre assured that compensation would be paid to the farmer’s family from the chief minister’s relief fund.

The dharna, against land acquisition, however, continued.

The state government decided to undertake the expressway construction after it did not find any takers for the project in the private sector.

The project will shorten the distance between Lucknow and the Taj city of Agra by 100 kilometres. The farmers in Kannauj were protesting against the acquisition of their land and demanding that the expressway be diverted.

The government has expressed its inability to concede the demand.

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