Indian farmers bury themselves to protest land acquisition deal

A veiled woman farmer harvests a wheat crop in a field on the outskirts of Ajmer in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan in this April 4, 2015 file photo. India is the world's biggest wheat producer after China. (REUTERS/Himanshu Sharma)
Updated 05 October 2017

Indian farmers bury themselves to protest land acquisition deal

NEW DELHI: Scores of farmers in western India have buried themselves neck-deep in the ground or are sitting in trenches to protest against what they say is meagre financial compensation from authorities keen to build housing on their land.
More than 50 farmers — men and women — from the desert state of Rajasthan began their protest two days ago, claiming local authorities had forcibly acquired their land at rates dating back to 2010 and called for increased compensation.
Television pictures from Nindar village, about 15 km (10 miles) from the fort city of Jaipur, showed about a dozen men standing in narrow pits dug up to their necks, and scores of women sitting in trenches as crowds gathered round.
“We are here to demand (a) better rate for our land. What the government is offering us is not enough. The cost of land is much higher than it was before,” an elderly farmer, wearing a colorful turban and standing in a narrow pit, told the NDTV news channel on Wednesday.
Officials from the Jaipur Development Authority, which has acquired the land to build a housing project as part of the expansion of the popular tourist city, were not immediately available to comment on the protest.
The villagers have been holding demonstrations for better compensation since mid-September, but there has been no response from the government, they said.
This is not the first time farmers have staged dramatic protests to draw attention to their plight.
In March, drought-hit and debt-ridden farmers from the southern state of Tamil Nadu traveled to New Delhi in a protest where they displayed the skulls of fellow farmers believed to have committed suicide, and placed live rats in their mouths.


Former head of US election security calls Trump team fraud allegations ‘farcical’

Updated 1 min 37 sec ago

Former head of US election security calls Trump team fraud allegations ‘farcical’

LOS ANGELES: The top US cybersecurity official fired by Republican President Donald Trump for saying the Nov. 3 election was the most secure in American history said on Friday voter fraud allegations made by Trump and his allies are “farcical.”
Chris Krebs, the former director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told the CBS 60 Minutes program that allegations of US voting machines being manipulated by foreign countries were baseless.
Sidney Powell, a Trump attorney cut loose by the Trump legal team this week, had put forward a conspiracy theory that election systems created in Venezuela at the behest of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez helped tip the US election to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.
She and others have also alleged that voting machines had flipped votes from Trump to Biden and some US voting information was stored on servers in Germany.
“All votes in the Unites States of America are counted in the United States of America. Period,” Krebs said, in an excerpt broadcast on CBS Evening News. The full 60 Minutes interview will air on Sunday. Krebs was fired by Trump on Nov. 17 after calling the election the “most secure in American history.”
“There’s no evidence that any machine that I’m aware of has been manipulated by a foreign power,” Krebs said, calling such allegations “farcical claims.” He added: “The American people should have 100% confidence in their vote.”
Biden won the election with 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. He leads Trump by over six million in the popular vote.
Trump and his lawyers continue to allege, without evidence, that the election was stolen through widespread fraud and Trump is the winner. Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for Biden.