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Published on 17 Aug. 2010 12:59 AM IST
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The deaths of two farmers in police firing in Uttar Pradesh’s 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.
“We want the government to table the bill in this session only so that farmers in Uttar Pradesh and all over the country don’t suffer when their land is taken over,” BJP leader Rajnath Singh told IANS in the parliament complex.
The Rajya Sabha also saw uproarious scenes as the BJP demanded a discussion on the issue.
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, Bahujan Samaj Party 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.
Ansari, however, managed to pacify the members, after which the question hour could proceed.
However, as soon as the question hour was over, the opposition members were again on their feet demanding a discussion on the farmers issue.
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 scene was no different when the house reassembled at 2 p.m. and despite repeated pleas from Rahman Khan, 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.
Reacting to the issue, Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the government had no policy for land acquisition.
“There is widespread land acquisition, but no policy on relief and rehabilitation. The government seems unwilling to do anything about that,” he said.
Putting the onus on Uttar Pradesh’s Mayawati government, Congress leader and former state chief minister Jagadambika Pal said that it should be sacked.
“It is the fault of the state government. The Mayawati government should be sacked for the way it is giving away land,” he said.

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