Over 5000 Gujarat farmers seek icchha mrityu after battling land acquisition
Ahmedabad: More than 5,000 people at Bhavnagar district in Gujarat have written letters to authorities seeking permission to die. A farmers’ body leader on Wednesday claimed that they are battling against the acquisition of land by a state power utility.
“A total of 5,259 people, comprising farmers and their family members from 12 affected villages, have sought “icchha mrityu (right to die) as the land they cultivate is being forcibly snatched by the state government and Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL),” claimed Narendrasinh Gohil, a local farmer and a member of Gujarat Khedut Samaj, an organisation fighting for farmers’ rights.
The farmers’ leader claimed that the letters, signed by these farmers and their kin, have been sent to the President of India, the Prime Minister and the chief minister of Gujarat. Harshad Patel, Collector, Bhavnagar, said that the farmers had left these letters, in which they have asked permission for “icchha mrityu”, at the registry branch of the collectorate. The registry branch receives and dispatches all the letters of the collectorate.
The farmers accused the state government and GPCL of using the security forces to evacuate them from their land.
They claimed that this land was being tilled by them for several years.
The farmers alleged that GPCL was attempting to occupy the land more than 20 years after the power firm had acquired it. They added that the move was against the law.
Narendrasinh Gohil said, “As per the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, a company cannot take possession of a land which it had acquired more than five years ago. To possess such a land, it will have to initiate the process of acquisition afresh. On two occasions, the police have fired tear gas on a peaceful gathering of farmers. We are being threatened and bullied by the government,” Gohil alleged.
He further added that the district authority has imposed section 144 of the CrPC, a provision prohibiting any assembly of persons the authorities term unlawful, in the 12 villages since over a month now.
“GPCL and Gujarat government want to usurp our land, despite the land legally belonging to the farmers. What shall we do in such a situation? If we do not have cultivable land, we shall be as good as dead,” the letter claimed.