THE HINDU, JULY 14, 2006
Activists write to NHRC chairperson
# Farmers were protesting the acquisition of 2,500 acres of land by U.P. Government
# Land is for a proposed Reliance power plant at Dadri
NEW DELHI: Prominent human rights activists, including (retd.) Justice Rajinder Sachar, senior journalist Kuldip Nayar and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, have demanded a probe into the `police excesses’ against farmers in Uttar Pradesh on July 7, 8.
In a letter to Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Justice A.S. Anand, they sought an NHRC probe into the incidents in Dadri. The farmers were protesting the acquisition of 2,500 acres of land by the Uttar Pradesh Government for a proposed Reliance power plant in Dadri. They were compelled to accept cash compensation for the acquired land at a price much less than the market price in the area.
According to the activists, the protesters had planned a programme of symbolic ploughing of their land on July 8. However, on July 7 night, a contingent of the State Provincial Armed Constabulary arrived at the main square of Bajeda village and fired at the protesters without warning, injuring three youths.
The next morning, a large contingent of police marched into the village, resorted to an unprovoked lathicharge on around 100 villagers sitting in the village square. Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh and MP Raj Babbar, who were part of the protests, were prevented from entering Ghaziabad district. When they squatted on the road in protest, they were arrested and then released. The police arrested 80 persons, most of who were booked under false charges for attempt to murder under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to the activists, more than 20 persons were hospitalised.