“I will stand right in front and take bullets,” he told the farmers at the meeting.

Pawan Kalyan warns of massive stir if land is taken from Amaravati farmers forciblyImage:Jana Sena Party/Facebook
news Politics Monday, July 23, 2018 - 13:25

Jana Sena Chief Pawan Kalyan lashed out at the ruling Telugu Desam Party on Sunday, and assured farmers in Undavalli village, which falls in the Amaravati capital area, that he would stand with them in the face of their land being taken away from them forcibly. He also warned the government of consequences if they took the land away by force.

“What should we (the farmers) do?” Pawan asked, at the meeting. “Should be eat the soil as they construct skyscrapers? We are not slaves to anyone. The Constitution has guaranteed us the same rights.”

Pawan is on a whirlwind tour of the Amaravati area, and he interacted with farmers who are being asked to give up their land to build the new capital for Andhra Pradesh.

He appealed to the farmers to revolt if the government tried to invoke the Land Acquisition Act to forcibly take their lands away. The land that Amaravati is coming up on is extremely fertile and it is said that this land can yield 120 kinds of crops. However, it is all being acquired for the new capital.

In case the farmers so choose to rebel, he said his party would firmly stand with them.

“If you (Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu) want to replicate a Basheer Bagh like scene here, then I will stand right in front to take the bullets,” Pawan added.

In 2000, Hyderabad’s Basheer Bagh saw massive protests against the government hiking power tariffs in the state. However, in the police firing that followed, two civilians were killed.

Pawan said that he had met Chandrababu before the 2014 elections, who assured him that the forest land was enough for the new state to come up, and hence, came to power with the help of Jana Sena.

He also demanded that a compensation package be announced to land holders as per the 2013 Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act.

“What happens to those farmers and labourers whose lands are taken away? How about their children, their marriages and their livelihood? These lands came to them from their forefathers...We aren’t against development...Take only the land you need for development, and give the farmers an acceptable compensation. We are not going to sit around as spectators while you put lakhs of acres in just a few hands. Development for a few is not acceptable,” he said.

In his meeting, several farmers told Pawan that Section 144, which restricts the movements of people, had been imposed in their villages and the police were asking farmers for their Aadhaar cards to enter their own villages.

They also alleged that their lands were being labelled as dry or uncultivable and being taken away from them. But they said it yielded at least three crops each year.

According to Pawan, the Revenue Department and police were acting as per the Chief Minister’s orders. He called this nothing but “an announced dictatorship”.

He requested the state DGP to allow the farmers to enter their lands without restrictions and review the measures taken if they were for the CM’s security.