Farmer dies at land acquisition protest over new Chhattisgarh capital

A 65-year-old farmer died on Friday during a protest over land acquisition in Chhattisgarh’s Naya Raipur area.

According to sources, Siyaram Patel was among hundreds of farmers who have been protesting for almost two months to get a fair price for their land that was taken over by the government when setting up the new capital city of Chhattisgarh, Naya Raipur. These farmers had also been promised jobs in exchange for their lands, they claimed.

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After multiple rounds of failed talks with the government, the protesting farmers had set up a base outside the Naya Raipur Development Authority office. The protesting farmers, however, were not allowed to approach the office after section 144 was imposed in the area on Thursday.

“After the police and the barricades stopped our march, we sat down in protest. At around 4 pm Patel who was amongst us collapsed,” Girdhari Patel, one of the protesters, said.

The medical team stationed nearby checked him and referred him to the nearby Balco trauma center. He was declared dead at the hospital due to a heart attack, sources said.

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel has announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh for the family of Siyaram Patel. He expressed sadness at the death of the farmer, a statement from the government read.

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel has condoled the death of the farmer and announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for his family.

According to protesting representatives, Patel who had been sitting under the sun was stressed over not getting his dues. “This is not a natural death, but a death caused by government negligence. We are demanding for money and jobs promised to us when the land was taken from us,” one of the protesting farmers said.

Farmers are now demanding compensation for Patel’s death. “When we can spend money on farmers from other states, why does the government not have money for its own people,” Patel said.

Civic groups like the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan have also given their support to the farmer protests. “It is painful that the government who claims to be farmer-friendly is unwilling to listen to the farmers of their state. We support the farmer protest,” Alok Shukla, convenor of Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan said.

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