Unnao: Crusher plant vehicle set ablaze amid clash

A vehicle of crusher plant was set ablaze on Sunday. (Twitte image/@ANINewsUP)

Plastic pipes and vehicles outside a state infrastructure agency godown here were set ablaze on Sunday, a day after farmers clashed with police demanding adequate compensation for their land that was acquired for an upcoming township by the agency.

The incident took place around 11 am outside the godown of the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Authority (UPSIDA) which acquired the land for the Trans-Ganga City project near Kanpur, officials said.

"Some anti-social elements had set fire to plastic pipes kept outside the godown. Apart from this, two vehicles were also set afire," Additional District Magistrate Rakesh Singh said.

The fire was controlled to a significant extent and there was no loss of life, Singh said. "Action will be initiated against those who set the portion of the godown on fire."

"No farmer has so far claimed responsibility for Sunday's act, which means that the work has been done by anti-social elements," District Magistrate Devendra Kumar Pandey said.

On Saturday, farmers demanding better compensation for their land clashed with the police when government officials visited the project site to clear the encroachment.

Several farmers were injured as the police baton-charged them, used tear gas and water cannons. Many police personnel were also injured as the protesters targeted them with stones.

"No one will be allowed to disturb law and order," the district magistrate said, appealing villagers to help maintain peace.

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Kisan Manch, a forum working for welfare of farmers, claimed that the growers were not indulging in violent protests and were only demanding adequate compensation for their land.

"Nearly 30 per cent of the farmers of the clash-hit area are yet to get compensation from the government," RKM president Shekhar Dixit said on Sunday.

"The farmers are not indulging in violent protests and are only demanding adequate compensation for their land. Is their demand unjustified," Dixit asked.

The district magistrate, however, had said on Saturday that the farmers were adequately compensated.

The farmers' outfit also demanded that all the officials involved in the baton charge should be sacked.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shared a 22-second-long video of the clash on Twitter.

"UP chief minister is making big speeches in Gorakhpur, but see the condition of his police. A farmer in Unnao is lying semi-conscious after being beaten by laathi (stick). He is still being beaten up. There should be some shame. A person who grows grains for you is subjected to such cruelty," she tweeted.

UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu condemned the action on farmers, terming it "barbaric".

Congress' state media management committee member Lalan Kumar said, "It is unfortunate that the state government has not given any assurance to the farmers till now. The state government does not want to work in the interest of the farmers."

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav in a tweet said, "Instead of getting adequate compensation, the farmers are getting beaten up by lathis. They are not getting proper price for sugarcane, stray cattle is damaging standing crops and farmers are committing suicide. Is this the definition of development in BJP's 'raaj' (rule)?"

Meanwhile, UP BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla in a tweet said, "Priyanka Vadra jee, you are not aware of the ground reality of Uttar Pradesh. Before doing politics on Twitter, Unnao's reality should be known to you."

"As many as 1,925 farmers out of 2,039 have been given compensation. Only 114 have been left, as there division of land is pending in court. In other words, the court will decide who will get compensation," he said in another tweet.

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