Farmers’ deaths force parliament’s adjournment till Tuesday

Yahoo News | IANS | 16/08/2010

The deaths of two farmers in police firing in UPs Aligarh district forced the adjournment of both houses of parliament till Tuesday following repeated protests by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) members. Both houses witnessed three disruptions before the presiding officers called it a day. While the question hour was taken up in the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha remained stalled without any business being transacted. Two farmers and one policeman died in violence that erupted near Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh Saturday as farmers demanded higher compensation for the acquisition of their land for the Noida-Agra Yamuna Expressway. The Lok Sabha was initially adjourned till noon. The pandemonium continued when the house met again and MPs gathered near Speaker Meira Kumar’s podium to raise the issue, shouting slogans against the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government in Uttar Pradesh.

Meira Kumar then adjourned the house till 2 p.m. When the house resumed, the protesting MPs didn’t relent despite repeated requests from the speaker, who then adjourned the house till 11 a.m. Tuesday. The BJP demanded introduction of new land legislation promising better prices for acquisitions from farmers. As soon as the House met, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley urged Chairman Hamid Ansari to adjourn the question hour to discuss the firing on farmers. “We have given notice to suspend the question hour,” Jaitley said adding that the opposition was ready to take up the issue in the zero hour if all members agreed.

Strongly objecting to the demand, BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra said the issue was a state subject as it was related to law and order and should not be taken up. Even as Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan called for government papers to be laid as a prelude to calling zero hour, the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy requested a short duration discussion on the issue. Khan rejected Rudy’s contention, saying the issue should be taken up after zero hour was called. The opposition members, however, continued their protests and raised slogans against the Uttar Pradesh government. Amidst the din, the house was first adjourned for 15 minutes and then till 2 p.m. The opposition members continued their protests. The house was then adjourned for the day.

Hundreds of farmers have been staging protests and demanding higher compensation for land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway. They have also damaged property belonging to Jaypee Associates that is executing the project. Parts of Aligarh and Mathura districts were rocked by violence Saturday night, leading to exchange of fire between the police and protesters, which left three people – two farmers and a policeman – dead and a dozen injured. The 165-km, eight-lane expressway connecting Noida to Agra is aimed at reducing the driving time between New Delhi and Agra to just about 90 minutes. It is expected to make a lot of difference to foreign tourists headed for the Taj Mahal. The protesters wanted higher compensation for their land as the farmers were offered Rs.453 per square foot in Aligarh and Mathura districts while in Noida, the compensation was nearly Rs.800 per square foot, according to the farmers.


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