Gujarat Farmers consider "icchha mrityu" as State Power Utility moves to take over Land acquired for Power Plant

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: April 26, 2018
Over 5,000 farmers and their families in Gujarat's Bhavnagar district have written letters to authorities seeking permission to die. They fear that the land that they are currently cultivating will soon be taken away from them by a state power utility.

Farmers protest
Image: Reuters

"A total of 5,259 people, comprising farmers and their family members from 12 affected villages, have sought icchha mrityu as the land they cultivate is being forcibly snatched by the state government and Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL)," claims Narendrasinh Gohil, a local farmer and a member of Gujarat Khedut Samaj, an organisation fighting for farmers' rights.

Gohil says the letters, signed by these farmers and their families, have been sent to the President of India, the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Harshad Patel, Collector, Bhavnagar, has confirmed that the farmers have dropped these letters at the registry branch of the collectorate. However, he did not specify the number of farmers who had written or signed these letters.

The farmers have accused the state government, and GPCL, of using police force to get them to vacate the land. "On two occasions, the police have fired teargas on a peaceful gathering of farmers. We are being threatened and bullied by the government," Gohil alleged. He added that the district administration has imposed section 144 of the CrPC in the 12 villages for over a month. In their letters farmers said that the "forcible acquisition" of land was making them feel like "terrorists" and, therefore, they would like to be killed by bullets fired by Army personnel.

The farmers alleged that GPCL was trying to possess the land more than 20 years after the power firm had acquired it, adding that such a move was against the law. "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," Gohil said.