The Congress on Wednesday termed as “coldblooded murder” the killing of five farmers in police firing in Madhya Pradesh and questioned the prime minister’s silence over it. The Congress accused the BJP for “acting as a curse of death for Indian farmers” and slammed it for disallowing party vice president Rahul Gandhi from meeting the families of the victims.
AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said it was insulting and unfortunate that the BJP-led NDA government was in denial mode over the firing and accused it of spreading rumours and canards over who fuelled the farmers’ protest. “The BJP has almost been acting like a curse of death for Indian farmers, literally – not figuratively. Distressed farmers are viewed by heartless BJP virtually as fodder for opening fire upon,” Singhvi said, adding that on the one hand the farmers are toiling while on the other the BJP is killing or opening fire upon the “sons of the soil”. He said the agitating farmers were seeking loan waivers and right prices for them, “but the BJP killed them with bullets and that is the sad reality of Mandsaur in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh”.
“We want to ask the Prime Minister. Why has the Prime Minister, yet 24 hours or 36 hours after the tragedy – not said a word about the terrible tragedy in Mandsaur? Despite much ‘hoopla’ about starting ‘Kisan DD Channel’, Mr Prime Minister – did this Kisan Channel show this Mandsaur incident?” he said.
The Congress leader also accused the BJP of having forgotten its promises made in its manifesto ahead of the 2014 general election that it would provide 50 per cent more than the cost inputs to farmers. “Mr Prime Minister, Mr BJP you have forgotten the word ‘Agriculture’ in your craze for anti-Congress culture. That is the only culture you remember. The ‘NAMO Policy’ apparently stands for ‘NAMO’ – ‘No Agriculture Mal-Governance Only’,” he said.
Singhvi also said, “This coldblooded murder attempt and murder of farmers yesterday come from the same state which has become famous for VYAPAM which affected 77 lakh lives and led to over 50 deaths in that scam,” he said.
The Congress leader said what was insulting and sad was the complete denial by the Madhya Pradesh government which initially said that there was no firing but later admitted it. He also hit out at the BJP for denying permission to people who wanted to go and express solidarity with the bereaved farmers, including Gandhi. Singhvi said Gandhi was denied permission and instead canards and rumours were spread.
He said to add salt to injuries of farmers, the central government has released a two-page advertisement about farmers and what the government has done for them. He said the farmers have been killed not only by bullets “but they have been lynched and shamed by pages upon pages of lies published in government advertisements. This is one of the most pitiable situations.”
The Congress also released a booklet of facts about farmers’ plight and the number of suicides taking place in the country. The physical “maltreatment” of farmers in Mandsaur, he said, is a complete abdication of promises including written promises in the BJP manifesto. He said the government is not looking at their demands
and is turning a deaf ear instead and is not giving a healing touch.
“On top of that, it is throttling their voice. It is preventing communication,” he said, adding that demonetisation has hit the farmers the most as it reduced their incomes by 50 per cent. “They were forced to destroy the produce in their fields and throw them on the roads,” he said, while referring to the farm agitation in Maharashtra, which has seen the maximum suicides by farmers.