RJD charges Bihar police with hushing up farmer''s death

Patna, Jan 18 (PTI) Bihar Leader of the Opposition AbdulBari Siddique today charged the police with hushing up thedeath of a farmer in lathicharge on agitators protestingagainst the acquisition of land for the Nabi Nagar powerproject at Aurangabad on Saturday.

Siddique, who visited the protest site, in hiscommunication to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said RamatPrajapati''s family members had categorically claimed that hehad died in the lathicharge while protesting with othersagainst inadequate compensation given for acquiring their landfor the 1980 MW thermal power project of NTPC.

Two bighas were acquired from Prajapati, who was amongthe protesters on that day and not at his home or elsewhere asclaimed by the police, he said.

Had the farmer''s death been a routine one as was beingsaid by the police then why was his body not returned to hisfamily after post-mortem, he asked.

Questioning the motive of the police in crematingPrajapati''s body on their own and keeping his family out ofit, he also charged it of forcing the media to retract theirearlier reports that the farmer had died during lathicharge.

The letter urged the government to own up the farmer''sdeath during police lathicharge and provide compensation tohis family.

Siddique, who led a RJD fact finding team to Nabi Nagarfollowing instructions of the party chief Lalu Prasad,requested the chief minister to order unconditional release of18 farmers arrested during the protest and withdrawal of casesagainst them.

He also asked Kumar to adopt a consistent and uniformcompensation policy for acquisition of land for developmentprojects, including those for the power sector.

The farmers should be taken into confidence beforeacquisition of their land in future to prevent protests onsuch issues, Siddique said.

About 25 people were injured in the lathicharge onagitating farmers, who fought a pitched battle with the policeand set fire to a local train at Aurangabad on Saturday. PTIKDK KKKK

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