BJP members in the Karnataka Assembly today staged a walkout over the issue of police firing at farmers protesting the setting up of a 2000 MW thermal plant at Kudagi in Bijapur district on Saturday.
Opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar said the government was anti-farmers as "innocent" people had been fired at, causing injuries to two persons. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had failed to live up to his promise on the floor of the House during the Belgaum session that no farmers would be lathi-charged and fired at. "The promise has been broken. What happened to it? The government is anti-farmers," Shettar said. He said the government, instead of a magisterial probe on the matter should order a high-level judicial inquiry by a High Court or retired High Court Judge and wanted compensation to farmers injured in police firing and in the violence.
JDS floor leader H D Kumaraswamy said the farmers were not against the project but against the land acquisition. The government should immediately call a meeting with farmers and reduce the trust deficit between them, he said.
In reply, Home Minister K J George said police fired at the protestors in defence as they had gone berserk. Dissatisfied with George's reply, Shettar said the government has not spoken a word on conducting a judicial inquiry and withdrawal of cases against the protestors. Other BJP members raised slogans against the government, branding it as anti-farmers, and staged a walkout.
However, Siddaramaiah said the cases against protestors will be withdrawn only after studying the report of the magisterial inquiry, to be submitted in next 40 days. The government has decided to give Rs one lakh to those who suffered bullet injuries and Rs 25,000 to those who sustained injuries during lathicharge, Siddaramaiah said.
Meanwhile at Bijapur, Deputy Commissioner Ranadeep said he will submit his inquiry report into the police firing within 45 days. He said it is a national power project and even the Union government has taken it seriously asking the state to provide sufficient protection to the project which is on full swing since three years. It was unfortunate that the agitation turned violent and added that he has asked the project authorities to fulfil all the promises given to people while starting the work.