A 45-year-old farmer who had been protesting against the proposed acquisition of his land for the Lucknow-Agra Expressway died, allegedly after falling ill because of the cold in Kannauj district.
The district administration, however, claimed Babu Ram died due to a head injury.
On Tuesday, CM Akhilesh Yadav visited Kannauj, which is also the Lok Sabha constituency of his wife Dimple, but farmers protesting against their land being acquired said they were disappointed as he did not meet them.
“We wanted to talk to the chief minister regarding the death, but he did not come here even though a farmer died,” said Ram Kripal, the convenor of farmers agitating against the acquisition of their land.
The family members of Babu Ram, a resident of Himnapur Phagwa village, claimed he had been protesting against the proposed acquisition of his land, which is more than an acre in size, for the Lucknow-Agra Expressway with farmers from nearly one dozen neighbouring villages since December 7.
Babu Ram’s brother Ram Singh said his brother had fallen ill after sitting in protest in the cold weather and his condition deteriorated because of weakness, leading to a head injury. He was taken to Kanpur for treatment and died in a hospital on Saturday.
“He did not die because of the injury as it was not such a big injury. He died because of a cold infection. The road will take more than 3 bighas of Babu Ram’s land and he did not want to sell it,” Singh said.
Following his death, villagers carried Babu Ram’s body to the site of their protest and staged a demonstration. The farmers relented after local MLA Anil Dohre and administration officers held talks with them.
Babu Ram’s family was promised compensation from the chief minister’s relief fund and the farmers’ accident insurance scheme.
Kannauj sub-divisional magistrate S K Shukla said the post-mortem revealed Babu Ram died of a head injury. He denied Babu Ram died due to the cold saying the dharna had not been continuous and the farmers used to gather there only for some time.