BELAGAVI: A major controversy broke out on Sunday after it came to light that several farmers in Belagavi district have been issued arrest warrants by a Kolkata magistrate court, prompting the state government to step in. The Kolkata court charged the farmers with offence of (2) U/S 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, and directed the local police to arrest and produce them before the court by February 18, 2019.
According to sources, many farmers from Saundatti and other taluks have availed loans from the private sector Axis Bank.The development has come as a shock to farmers already reeling under the burden of farm loans which the government has announced will be waived.
On getting word about the warrants, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy asked the Belagavi Deputy Commissioner to initiate necessary measures to protect the interests of all farmers in Belagavi and also sought a report on why the warrants were issued despite his directive to the banks. The Belagavi DC has called upon farmers not to panic and said steps will be taken to protect their interests. He said he had already spoken to officials concerned in Axis Bank and appealed to them against taking any measures against farmers who have availed loans.
While warrants are said to have been issued against over 100 farmers, The New Indian Express has photo copies of the warrants issued to five such farmers, all hailing from Enagi village in Saudatti taluk, by the Metropolitan Magistrate 15th Court of Calcutta.
The warrants were received by the office of Belagavi Police Commissioner on October 9 and forwarded to the Saundatti police for further action. The five farmers are Balappa Mugappa Kurbgatti, Yallappa H Pujer, Bhimappa H Pujer, Channamallappa Karadigudda, Basappa G Hubballi.