Cotton picker with bags © UGF 2017

Uzbek Farmers Spend Night Behind Bars for Selling Cucumbers instead of Picking Cotton

On October 18, at a meeting of the administration of the Shahrisabz district of the Kashkadarya region dedicated to the cotton campaign, a group of farmers was criticized for selling cucumbers at the local market instead of participating in the national plan to collect cotton. After the meeting, several farmers were sent to the district police station. It is reported that female farmers spent the night behind bars.

The affected farmers themselves reported this to Radio Ozodlik. According to one of them, Shahrisabz farmers who had not collected 100 kilograms according to the plan were sent directly from the cotton headquarters to the police station where they had to spend the night. In conversation with the Ozodlik reporter, the head of the cotton headquarters in the Shahrisabz district said that the district leadership had only chastised the farmers who, instead of fulfilling the plan for cotton, had sold cucumbers, tomatoes and onions at the local market.

According to an official from the Shahrisabz region, who asked not to disclose his name, the meeting raised the issue of confiscating the property of farmers who did not fulfill the plan to collect cotton.

A police officer from the Kashkadarya region told Ozodlik that several farmers from various districts of the region were arrested “for hooliganism”. According to him, these farmers had sold agricultural products in local markets during the cotton harvest and were also involved in disturbances.

“They were simply interrogated and then released,” an employee of the regional police department told our reporter.

The employee of the Shahrisabz district administration, speaking off the record, said that the punishment was caused by the farmers themselves:

“Management of the cotton headquarters saw several farmers at the market and reprimanded them. A farmer who has concluded a contract with the state has to fulfill its conditions. He has to fulfill the plan. But instead they secretly sell cucumbers, tomatoes and onions at the market. The plan for cotton and wheat is not being implemented. When they are asked a question, they immediately start making a fuss, stupidly looking into your face. The state is waiting for the fulfillment of the plan. Therefore, farmers themselves are to blame for everything” said the representative of the administration.

One of the farmers complained to the Ozodlik reporter about insults and humiliation by the khokim (head) of the Kashkadarya region:

“The regional hokim insults us at meetings all the time for not fulfilling the plan for cotton and wheat. We are have to sell vegetables at the local market to earn some money for our families,” he complained.

https://www.ozodlik.org/a/paxta-2017–qamoq-fermer/28806415.html

October 20, 2017