Unnao farmers' protest for compensation turns violent

Lucknow: Farmers' demonstration for land compensation in Unnao district turned violent on Saturday when clashes broke out between protestors and police leading to stone-pelting, torching of public property, lathicharge and tear gas.

Heavy police-force was deployed in the village, Kanhavapur in Sadar Tehsil, following the clashes. The cops stand accused of excesses including on elders and women which added fuel to the ongoing unrest. A pipe at a power sub-substation in the vicinity was set on fire Sunday.

The farmers claim the state administration forcibly took over their land for the Trans-Ganga City project, a proposed satellite township located around 40 kilometres from Lucknow, around 7 years ago. They also claim that their compensation is awaited.

The farmers on Saturday gathered at the site of the proposed smart city, which is being built by the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Authority (UPSIDA), where clashes with cops led to stone-pelting and construction machinery being set ablaze.

In a video of the incident, that has since gone viral, cops in riot gear can be seen running after farmers charging canes; at one point in the clip a cop is seen hitting a man lying on ground with little response.

The authorities have denounced the clashes as the work of "miscreants" intent on disrupting work on the smart city. First information reports (FIRs) have been filed against 208 persons of whom 200 are unidentified ones.

"Some miscreants are creating trouble. We'll maintain peace and the work (Trans-Ganga City project) will go on," Devendra Pandey, the District Magistrate told media.

The government officials also claimed compensation has already been given to most of the farmers and only a few were left.

Opposition Congress and Samajwadi Party have condemned the police action on farmers. Congress leaders met the farmers and promised to fight for their cause. Party chief Ajay Singh Lallu said, “Not only excesses, the government's silence over compensation of farmers is also condemnable.” 

Samajwadi leaders are supposed to visit the area on Monday.

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