The Karnataka Assembly saw dramatic scenes as the Opposition parties took on the ruling Congress over the treatment meted out to farmers protesting in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Kolar Gold Fields MLA Y Ramakka had sharply criticized the state government for lathicharging farmers who were protesting in the state capital on Thursday. Ramakka said that the farmers had been hospitalized with broken legs. She asked Siddaramaiah to give the farmers compensation. “They had not come to you to ask for clothes or money. They came to ask you for drinking water,” she said.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah denied that farmers had been beaten by the police. He said that there were barricades near Windsor Manor hotel which caused some pushing and shoving but maintained that farmers were not caned.
Former chief minister and BJP leader Jagadish Shettar however, said that the chief minister was lying.
“The government is lying. The police lathicharge the farmers who were demanding water. If the government did not lathicharge the farmers, how did they get injured? The CM is lying,” he said.
However, repeating that the farmers were not beaten, Siddaramaiah also taunted, “We don’t need to learn lessons from those who fired at farmers and killed them.”
This was a reference to the incident in Haveri in which two farmers who were killed in police firing in 2008, during BS Yeddyurappa’s tenure.
Speaking to the media however, leader of the Shashwata Neeravari Horata Samiti Anjaneya said that the police did not allow them to disperse voluntarily. “They caught hold of us and beat us,” he said.
On Thursday, a large group of farmers from Chikkaballapura, Kolar, and other districts had come to Bengaluru, demanding implementation of the Paramashivaiah Committee report. They blocked Mekhri Circle in the state capital for hours with tractors, demanding the state government’s attention. Mekhri Circle is one of the city’s busiest areas, and is also an approach road to the airport.
On Friday, farmers in Kolar protested against the Chief Minister, burning an effigy of his dead body. They raised slogans against the government. There were several protests across the state. A farmer in Belgaum even attempted suicide in Belagavi district. Basappa of Yakkanchi village in Athani taluk was hospitalized by the police.