Aligarh farmers protest echoes in Parliament

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 19 2010, 03:42am hrs
Making common cause against UP chief minister Mayawati over the Aligarh farmers protest, members belonging to the Congress, BJP, SP, JD(U) and RLD stalled proceedings in both Houses leading to their adjournment for the day. While the Lok Sabha failed to transact any substantive business, the Rajya Sabha took up Question Hour, followed by two adjournments in quick succession.

Trouble erupted in the Lok Sabha at the very outset as members belonging to the BJP and SP came into the well. Even former BJP president Rajnath Singh joined them. They shouted, Kisanon per atyachar band karo. BSP members, led by Dara Singh Chauhan, tried to counter them and for a while nothing could be followed in the din. Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till 12 noon.

When the House assembled again, members resumed their protest. Congress members PL Punia, Jadambika Pal and Deepender Hooda came to the aisle and started speaking but they could not be heard. BJP members hailing from UP, including Varun Gandhi, could be seen trying to compete with SP members by trooping into the well. RLD member Jayant Chaudhary, son of Ajit Singh, was also in the well of the House.

The Speaker carried through paper-laying and the minister of state for home Ajay Maken introduced a Bill seeking an amendment to the Repatriation of Prisoners Act before the House adjourned till 2 pm. It was the same story again and the House finally adjourned till Tuesday.

In Rajya Sabha, leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley raised the issue as soon as the House met. The BJP wanted suspension of Question Hour and a discussion on the firing. Chairman Hamid Ansari turned down the request and Question Hour went on smoothly.

On Sunday, a third person had died while the number of injured went up to nine as farmers, angry over compensation awarded for land acquired for a township next to the Delhi-Agra Yamuna Expressway, near Aligarh, fought pitched battles with the police. Among the dead is a PAC jawan. The UP government has ordered a judicial probe while Aligarh district magistrate Rama Rao and SSP Vijay Prakash have been shunted out.

The violence started on Saturday night in Jikarpur village when farmers who have been demanding higher compensation for the township for the past two weeks went on a rampage, vandalising a police post, indulging in stone-throwing and setting afire vehicles.

The land doesnt concern the main carriageway of the expressway, earlier known as Taj Expressway, but that assigned to the JP Group for commercial use alongside it. Around 2,500 hectares have been given to JP Infratech at five locations.

The farmers have been demanding the same compensation as that given to farmers in Noida area for another project. As per available information, while farmers have been offered Rs 453 per sq ft in Aligarh and Mathura area, farmers in Noida have got nearly doubleabout Rs 800 per sq ft.

While a major portion of the land has already been acquired and JP Group has announced townships, about 200 hectares are yet to be acquired, for which farmers near Tappal area of Aligarh are demanding higher rates.