Violent clashes broke out between police and farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao on Saturday, after the latter gathered to protest against the state government acquiring land for a residential project in the district. The farmers claim the Yogi Adityanath 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 have also claimed that they have yet to be paid compensation for the land they lost.
The farmers 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. A pipe at a power substation in the district was set on fire today.
The cops responded by lathicharging the farmers, who alleged that policemen also attacked women farmers. The police have claimed it was in self-defence and that they had been targeted by the farmers. Seven policemen, including an Additional Superintendent of Police, were reportedly injured.
"We have been promised that we will get compensation. We have held several meetings with the police and officials but nothing has been done so far in the matter," one of the protesting farmers was quoted by news agency ANI.
In a video of the incident that has been shared by ANI UP, cops in riot gear can be seen running after farmers; at one point in the clip a police officer appears to run at a woman farmer with his lathi raised.
According to news agency IANS, compensation has already been to 1,925 farmers and only 114 farmers were left.
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 eight named people and more than 200 unidentified ones.
"Some miscreants are doing this. We will go to villages and appeal to people to maintain peace. This is a deed of miscreants. We'll maintain peace and the work (Trans-Ganga City project) will go on," Devendra Pandey, the District Magistrate, told reporters.
With input from ANI, IANS