Social media websites are awash with a video of a farmer being kicked around by the SDM of the Jalore district in Rajasthan.
In the video that has now gone viral, SDM Bhupendra Yadav could be seen kicking a protesting farmer named Narsingh Ram Chaudhary. Following this incident, a scuffle broke out between police personnel and farmers.
With much difficulty, the police finally managed to pacify the angry villagers. At the heart of the controversy is the demands of compensation made by farmers for the construction of highway built under the Bharat Mala Project.
The work on the expressway from Amritsar to Jamnagar started on Thursday (July 15, 2021). Meanwhile, the villagers reached the spot in Jalore and protested against the work.
When SDM Bhupendra Yadav reached the location to inspect it, a farmer sat in front of JCB in protest against the ongoing construction. The SDM moved towards another farmer asking him to stop obstructing government work. When one of the villagers tried to snatch a stick from the policeman, the SDM kicked him. After this incident, tempers ran high resulting in the clashes between villagers and police.
In his defence, SDM Bhupendra Yadav said he reacted in his self-defence. He claims the villagers were going to assault him with sticks so he kicked one of them in defence. A case has been registered against the farmers for obstructing the government work at the Sanchore police station. Angry farmers held a panchayat in the village on the night after being kicked.
Offering an explanation on his clarification on the viral video, SDM Bhupendra Yadav said, “The farmers had tried to stop the work, because of which I had to visit the spot. Even as I was having a conversation with them, one of the farmers pulled a stick towards me. I kicked him to save myself from his attack.”
There has been no stay order on the construction work from the High Court. A report has also been given to the police station. Meanwhile, it is being reported that SDM Bhupendra Kumar Yadav has been transferred late night by the state government.
Why were the farmers protesting in Rajasthan?
The market rate for the land in Rajasthan which is being acquired for constructing the expressway is about Rs 10 lakh per bigha. But for this land, the administration is providing compensation at the DLC rate – Rs 45000 per bigha. The farmers had moved the High Court two years ago regarding this. The matter was then transferred to a two-judge bench, but due to the ongoing pandemic, the hearing could not proceed till now.
It has being said that 90 percent of the farmers have not even not taken the compensation yet. On the other hand, the company awarded with the contract of building the expressway does not want to stop the work until a decision is taken by the court.
SDM is being fiercely trolled after the video surfaced. Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia posted a tweet objecting to SDM’s behaviour and asked if that is how Rajasthan officials treat farmers. Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal has also called this incident of SDM kicking farmers as condemnable.