People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 34

August 22, 2010

AIKS, AIAWU Condemn UP Police Firing


EVEN as the nation was celebrating the 64th anniversary of its Independence, reports came in that three farmers had been killed in police firing at Jikharpur in Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh. These farmers had been peacefully protesting for the last few days against insufficient compensation for the land being acquired for the Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh, and the situation was precipitated by the insensitive and hostile approach of the UP government to the their demands. Police brutalities were reported from Aligarh as well as Mathura, in which scores of farmers including women and children were injured.


The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has strongly condemned the police brutality and demanded immediate action against those guilty of perpetrating such crimes on protesting farmers.


According to reports received, the UP Police cordoned off the area and unleashed repression on the farmers in the nearby villages. Unfortunately, the governments at the centre and in the state have not come with any comprehensive plan for rehabilitation and resettlement of the farmers and others who have lost land due to the 165 km long six-lane expressway (extendable to eight lanes), running from Agra to Delhi. A large area of fertile land, spread across more than 1100 villages, is going to be affected. The UPA government also has been sitting over the rehabilitation and resettlement bill which has been a long-standing demand of the Kisan Sabha and the Left parties.


State AIKS president D P Singh and other leaders immediately reached Aligarh to stand by the protesting farmers.


The AIKS has demanded that the work on the Yamuna Expressway must be stopped forthwith and discussions held with farmers’ representatives. Any construction activity must be allowed only after a mutually agreed settlement.

AIKS units across the state observed protest day on August 16, in solidarity with the victims’ families and the affected farmers.


Through a separate statement, the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) also condemned the brutality with which the UP government tried to suppress the legitimate demand for higher compensation raised by the peasants of Mathura, Aligarh, Bulandshahar, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Agra. The project has affected 1182 villages and over 20 lakh people, and this too is only half the number of villages that are to be taken over by a number of different government and private projects in the state, according to the figures cited in the UP assembly. This would create a major upheaval involving no less than a crore of the population.


The AIAWU has dubbed as irresponsible and as a disgrace the way the farmers protesting against the Yamuna Expressway at Tappal village for over 20 days were treated. An outburst of violence occurred as a result of the brutal beating up and arrest of the farmers’ leader, Rambabu Kathelia. This showed the intransigence of the state, leading to the destruction of machinery and the death of three at nearby Jikarpur, including two young students. These were Prashant Sharma (12 years) of Jikarpur and Mohit Kumar, a young dalit student of nearby Kripalpur.


The AIAWU has castigated the commitment of the central government and a number of state governments to acquire the meagre holdings of peasants who depend on them for their livelihood. This way these governments are eager to serve the interests of the billionaires who have little respect for the law of the land. These billionaires include the likes of the notorious Reddy brothers in Karnataka, the POSCO and Vedanta in Orissa and Dow Chemicals in Bhopal. The AIAWU is of the categorical opinion that these very moves of the central and many state governments is responsible for UP type terrible happenings all over the country.


Though the people have been incredibly patient so far, now their patience is wearing thin. The AIAWU has urged all its units to protest the anti-peasant atrocities and highlight the demand for just compensation, proper resettlement and a patient hearing to the demands of the people being dispossessed. With regard to the events of UP, the organisation committed its full support to the movement of peasants and rural masses against arbitrary takeover of vast amounts of land on the excuse of building expressways but actually handing them over to land mafias who are masquerading as developers.