Farmers’ bandh hits western UP

The bandh call by Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS) in the state on Wednesday, received response mainly in districts of Western Uttar Pradesh like Aligarh, Mathura, Agra, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar.

Manvir Singh Teotia, who is heading the KSS, has rushed to New Delhi to meet the Prime Minister. The AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi may be present at the meeting, said sources.

In Etmadpur area of Agra, farmers clashed with the police, pelted stones and set afire a few vehicles. The police fired rubber bullets and lobbed teargas shells to disperse the mob. In some districts, the farmers also blocked road and rail traffic.

Both Congress and the BJP had extended support to the bandh. The KSS is spearheading the farmers’ agitation, demanding higher compensation for their land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway project.

While BJP state president Surya Prasad Shahi, along with party supporters were arrested near the party office in Lucknow, the All India Congress Committee’s General secretary Digvijay Singh, who is also in-charge of UP Congress and the UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi participated in the farmers’ demonstration held in Dadri.

In Agra, farmers blocked the road near Chhaleshar-Kuberpur village on NH-2. By the time the police reached the spot, they had set afire a state roadways bus. “They also tried to set afire a ‘dumper’ vehicle, but the driver managed to escape,” said DIG Dipesh Juneja from Agra.

The farmers, he said brickbatted the police party.

“There was a railway track close to the blockade site and stones were available,” he said. The police chased them and got the blockade cleared. Denying that rubber bullets were used, Juneja said: “We used teargas shells.”
Farmers blocked the road at different points on Aligarh-Palwal road, besides in different areas of Khair Tehsil. Although Aligarh remains epicenter of the farmers’ agitation following the August 14 clash, Wednesday’s protest passed off peacefully. “The farmers also blocked the road near Tappal, where they continue their dharna programme under the banner KSS. Later in the evening, the traffic movement was restored near Tappal,” said a source in Aligarh.

The other points where farmers blocked the road included Sofa Nahar and Jattari villages. In Aligarh town, Congress supporters stopped the Lichchavi Express for a few minutes.

Supporters of Bhartiya Janata Yuwa Morcha, the youth wing of BJP, stopped a passenger train at Mathura Railway Junction. Later, they handed over a memorandum to the authorities in support of the farmers’ demand. The BJP workers also tried to enforce the bandh at the Mathura market. The Congress workers, led by legislator Pradeep Mathur, also made an attempt to block Mathura-Delhi Highway. The administration, however, stopped him from doing so.

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