UNDER FIRE over the farmers’ protests, the Madhya Pradesh government on Saturday agreed to extend the Rs 1 crore compensation it had announced for the five men who died in police firing on Tuesday to the sixth victim too — Ghanashyam Dhakad, 30, a Congress worker who died on Friday after he was allegedly beaten up by the police.
But Inspector Sanjay Singh, of Bhavgarh police station, said Dhakad was named as an accused, along with others, for vandalising public property on June 7. He was reportedly among the protesters who broke railings along the four-lane Jaora-Neemuch road.
Dhakad’s father, Durgalal, said he got a call from the police on Thursday night, informing him that his son was injured and had been referred to M Y Hospital in Indore. He alleged that his son was probably dead when he was taken to Indore, where the doctors declared him dead on arrival.
On Friday, the police escorted Dhakad’s body from Indore to his village, Badwan, for the last rites. But his family refused to take the body home until the government agreed to grant them the compensation too — Rs 1 crore, a job to a family member, and free education to his two children, a six-year-old boy and a 45-day-old daughter.
The District Collector and Superintendent of Police tried to reason that Dhakad’s case was different from that of the other five protesters, who were killed in two different incidents of firing in Pipliya Mandi on June 6.
Surrounded by his angry and grieving relatives, the Collector finally sought the sanction of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who began his fast in Bhopal on Saturday.
After the family was assured that they would receive the compensation, the cremation was finally held at around 11 am on Saturday, with several Congress leaders, including former MP Meenakshi Natarajan, in attendance.
Durgalal, who owns six bighas of land, said villagers were giving different accounts of his son’s death. But, he said, Dhakad took part in the protests and so they were entitled to the compensation.
Vishwajeet Soni, a villager, said the police were angry with Dhakad because he was leading the protesters who vandalised public property and had managed to escape when they tried to catch him earlier.
“They could have detained him or put him in jail,’’ said a relative, alleging that Dhakad was killed in custody.
According to his brother-in-law, Laxminarayan, Dhakad was the vice-president of the local Youth Congress unit. Laxminarayan said the panchayat would build a memorial in his name.
Meanwhile, Mandsaur SP Manoj Kumar Singh said a probe was being carried out to investigate the circumstances leading to Dhakad’s death. He said Dhakad had indulged in vandalism the day before his detention on Thursday.