Greater Noida/Lucknow/New Delhi: After two days of violence that claimed four lives, massive security arrangements by the Uttar Pradesh administration saw agitating farmers in Greater Noida lying low on Monday. Meanwhile, a determined opposition Monday slammed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for 'repressing' the farmers agitating for higher compensation for land taken for constructing the 156-km Yamuna Expressway that is to link New Delhi with Agra and reduce travel time by an hour.
The state government made elaborate security arrangements in the tense areas of Greater Noida and parts of Aligarh and Agra, deploying the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) in large numbers, officials said.
The police detained BJP leader Rajnath Singh, Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav, SP leaders Shivpal Singh Yadav and Mohan Singh along with their supporters when they tried to proceed towards Greater Noida where prohibitory orders have been clamped.
Noida police chief Anant Deo said Section 144 of the law, banning assembly of people and demonstrations, has been imposed throughout the district.
Cong attacks Maya govt
With controversy over land acquisition related violence in Uttar Pradesh deepening, Congress stepped up attack on the Mayawati government comparing the situation with that of Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal.
Party spokesperson Manish Tewari at the same time dismissed suggestions that the situation would not have arisen in the BSP-ruled state had the Centre got the amended Land Acquisition Act passed by Parliament and the Relief and Rehabilitation Policy approved.
While urging the UPA government to ensure that these two crucial bills are passed, he rejected the contention that it could not be done so far due to opposition from Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee.
"Congress strongly condemns the way farmers are being persecuted in Western Uttar Pradesh and Noida. Whatever be the reason and motive, the way the Chief Minister has tried to start a new tradition of development by use of sticks and guns
will have far reaching impact.”
"Whether it is Singur or Nandigram, as long as local people are not made to participate in development, development cannot be carried forward," Tewari told reporters at the AICC briefing.
Uttar Pradesh is going to polls in 2012 and Congress treats the Assembly election in this Hindi heartland as crucial for its grand revival at the national level.
Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi had even petitioned the Prime Minister last year for amendments in the Land Amendment Act and the passage of the Relief and Rehabilitation Policy to deal with the compensation issues of land acquisition cases.
Tewari today acknowledged "there is a strong case for amendment in the Land Acquisition Act. It must be amended. The Relief and Rehabilitation policy should be brought before Parliament and be passed at the earliest."
AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh told reporters in Delhi that Mayawati's "greed" was responsible for the violence in Greater Noida and Agra and other places and demanded a judicial enquiry into the entire episode.
Singh said the state government should discuss the issue with farmers.
"I urge upon everyone to shun violence and bring peace in the area...The affected villagers should also be given compensation," he said.
"The greed of Mayawati has overtaken her sensible decisions. The whole government is up for grabs for those who have money to spend," Singh said.
In an indication that Rahul Gandhi will not be visiting the affected areas, Singh said his party does not want the situation to aggravate.
BSP ignored farmers’ interest: SP
Blaming Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister for the violence over land acquisition in Noida and adjoining areas, Samajwadi Party alleged that the BSP government had ignored farmers' interests while taking over their land.
"The Chief Minister is entirely responsible for it (violence)... The process of acquisition was done in a haste and farmers were not taken in confidence leading to resentment causing clash between them and police," SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said at a press conference in Lucknow.
Yadav said a delegation of the party including Shivpal Singh Yadav and some party MPs was sent to an affected village to know about the ground reality but the leaders, were not allowed to reach there.
Senior party leader Azam Khan questioned the need for such large scale land acquisition in the area and accused the state government of acting like a business entity.
Farmers must fight democratically: Rajnath
Meanwhile, BJP leader Rajnath Singh appealed to the agitating farmers to fight for their cause in a non-violent and democratic way.
Accusing the Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government of being anti-farmer, he said the state should not forcefully acquire farmers' land.
Singh condemned the fierce clashes that broke out between security personnel and agitating farmers on Saturday which led to the death of two policemen and an equal number of farmers.
He said once the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill is passed by Parliament, farmers will get the right to sell their land directly to private developers.
Tension prevails in western UP
Tension however prevailed in parts of western UP hit by farmers' unrest over land acquisition even as a heavy police deployment was made in the affected areas.
About 5000 personnel belonging to PAC, Rapid Action Force and police have been deployed in the Greater Noida villages, police said.
Searches were being carried out to arrest farmer leader Manveer Singh Tewatia and his aides Gaje Singh, Premveer, Neeraj Mallik, Kiranpal and Manoj, police said.
Tewatia, who has more than 20 cases against him, has been leading the farmers' agitation at Bhatta-Parsaul since January 17. The state government has announced a reward of Rs.50000 for the arrest of Tewatia.
Rewards of Rs.15000 each have also been announced for the arrest of three other accomplices of Tewatia which included Mallik. Police teams have been sent to Tewatia's home village in Bulandshahr and other areas.
On the antecedents of Tewatia, Arya said, "The reward on arrest of Tewatia speaks for itself. Farmers do not carry weapons and resort to violence and kidnapping of officials. Tewatia misled the innocent farmers".
In Aitmadpur in Agra where farmers and police clashed yesterday, four FIRs have been lodged in connection with the violence and arson by villagers.
In Aligarh, another troubled spot, an FIR has been lodged against 40 people, of which 15 had been named in connection with the violence in Khangoli village on Aligarh-Mathura border.
Around a dozen more farmers were also detained this morning in connection with the violence in Greater Noida, Additional District Magistrate OP Arya said.
Bhatta and Parsaul villages in Greater Noida have been converted into fortresses with additional deployment of Provisional Armed Constabulary (PAC).Two kilometer radius area has been sealed, police said.
Arya said a criminal-farmer nexus at Bhatta village was being investigated.
He said a search was on for a police carbine, an SLR gun and a rifle that had gone missing during the violence.
In view of the agitation, the state government is considering setting up a PAC base at Noida and Greater Noida for which three sites were being looked at, district
administration sources said.
Meanwhile, Tewatia's wife Nutan has alleged that family members were being "harassed" by the police. She said her husband was not a criminal and had been fighting for the farmers' cause since the last four months.
She said she had met her husband on January 10 and since then he had left the village and was sitting at Bhatta fighting for farmers' cause.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Agra, Aseem Arun said, "Situation is totally normal and four FIRs - three by construction companies and one by police - have been lodged against the trouble makers".
He said so far 24 people have been identified and efforts were being made to arrest them. Those identified have been named in the police FIR.
To avert further violence, heavy police force has been deployed in and around Aitmadpur area.
After yesterday's arson, construction activity has again started on the site.
Four policemen and some villagers were injured in clashes between the police and villagers near in Aitmadpur tehsil on Sunday.
The irate villagers indulged in arson and brick batting, damaged vehicles and allegedly opened fire after which police used force to disperse the mob.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Aligarh, Satyendra Veer Singh said, an FIR has been lodged against 40 of which 15 have been named."
The SSP said the situation was normal in Tappal village and work on Yamuna Expressway is underway.
Greater Noida/Lucknow/New Delhi: After two days of violence that claimed four lives, massive security arrangements by the Uttar Pradesh administration saw agitating farmers in Greater Noida lying low on Monday.
Meanwhile, a determined opposition Monday slammed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for 'repressing' the farmers agitating for higher compensation for land taken for constructing the 156-km Yamuna Expressway that is to link New Delhi with Agra and reduce travel time by an hour.