Over 25,000 Indian farmers in Mathura, India, want permission to commit suicide if they do not receive any compensation from the government.
For the past 17 years, farmers in 11 villages demanded compensation after the government constructed the Gokul Barrage without their permission. The construction left their lands and livelihood without water.
Mathura district magistrate Rajesh Kumar said the government “will be releasing funds shortly.” He also asked the farmers “not to take any extreme steps,” since they will receive “Rs 750 cores.”
“The state government is ready to pay four times extra compensation to the farmers,” insisted Kumar. “We have already submitted our files. The funds will be released soon.”
In February, Mathura authorities clashed with farmers as they protested the government over compensation, which left 30 people injured.
“We did not receive intimation from the protesters. … The mob blocked a national highway and when the police arrived to disperse them, they attacked us,” IG Agra Zone Sunil Gupta said to justify the violence.
Witnesses also said the police “fired in the air” to force out the farmers as the protesters torched some buses. General Secretary Kunwar Nishad said officials falsely accused the farmers of looting and other damage during the protest.
“We demand compensation for the land acquired from us years ago for construction of Gokul Barrage,” said farmer Kishan Bahadur. “We are left with no land to grow food for children and are forced to do petty jobs.”
Farmers in Mathura received checks in April due to damaged crops, but they all bounced. The people lost so much money that at least 40 farmers committed suicide. The Uttar Pradesh government said they paid $32.29 million dollars, but farmers found checks worth only $5, and others claimed there is no money in the accounts.
“I received the cheque on April 11,” said farmer Suresh Chandra. “It was given by the government. They said that I would get the money as soon as I submit it in the bank. I did so but it bounced. In the memo it was written that they did not have money in their account.”