Madhya Pradesh: Ex-RSS man takes lead in mobilising protesters

Shivkumar Sharma, who has appropriated leadership of the farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh, had led a farmers’ protest against shortage of gunny bags in Bareli town of the state in May 2012.

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Mandsaur | Published:June 8, 2017 2:52 am

Former RSS leader and Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh national convener Shivkumar Sharma, who has appropriated leadership of the farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh, had led a farmers’ protest against shortage of gunny bags in Bareli town of the state in May 2012. He was then Bharatiya Kisan Sangh’s (BKS) general secretary. The 2012 protest had turned violent, with farmers setting on fire government property and vehicles. Protesters also beat up police and government officials. In the firing that followed, a farmer was killed and several others were injured.

But authorities had denied that the protesters had been fired upon even as a state rights panel probe in November 2012 concluded that the police had used excessive force and fired 23 rounds, including 18 from an AK-47 weapon. Sharma was jailed and several cases were slapped against him. The RSS sacked him after the BJP sought Sharma’s expulsion while he was in jail.

The BJP called him a blackmailer and accused him of instigating farmers as “his illegal demands for mining leases and other favours were not fulfilled’’. Sharma approached the Registrar of Firms and Societies after he was released on bail. He claimed that his removal was illegal and that he continues to be the farmers’ body leader.

In February 2013, Sharma claimed to having the backing of lakhs of farmers and floated Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party. He had said that he would contest all seats in the Assembly elections that were due that year. The BJP began withdrawing criminal cases against Sharma in an apparent trade-off ahead of the polls. He put up a token fight, winning 424 out of 3.38 crore votes polled in November 2013. Sharma had then claimed that he was against withdrawal of cases against him.

Sharma had earlier jolted the state government by mobilising farmers, who entered Bhopal with tractor-trolleys at night and brought traffic to a standstill before 2012. He was nowhere in the picture when the latest agitation began on june 1. Anil Yadav of the little-known Bharatiya Kisan Union was believed to be mobilising farmers for the last couple of months. He announced the agitation a fortnight ago but nobody took him seriously then. Yadav was detained along with another office-bearer of his organisation when things went out of hand on Sunday.

Sharma, who entered the scene a couple of days later, said on Wednesday that the anger was building up for several years. “This anger is not sudden, but an explosion of pent-up feelings.’’ He asked the government to introspect rather than blaming “anti-social elements” for instigating the farmers. He insisted that eight farmers had been killed on Tuesday. “I have appealed protesters to keep calm but they are so angry that they are taking law into their own hands,’’ he said.

He blamed the BKS and the BJP government for the mess. He claimed that the farmers were burdened with Rs 45,000 crore debt, which was Rs 2,000 crore a few years ago.

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  1. P
    Prem Silhi
    Jun 12, 2017 at 5:39 pm
    I have noted that the ociations of men and women in the Western world promoted civic values and concerns in almost every department of human society and they collaborated with the governments to achieve their goals thus bene ing all the citizens in a given country. In India, due to the typical culture where majority population subscribes to individualism rather than organization as in the Western world, the ociations are known to be created only by the administration to manage the crowds of individual men and women. The current unruly farmers' movement is nothing but an ault on the nationalist government led by PM Narendra Modi by the anti-India elements in politics. While the BJP government strives to work for general welfare for all the citizens, politically orchestrated destructive campaigns of any kind should be sternly dealt with as the law and order situations.
    Reply
    1. P
      Prem Silhi
      Jun 12, 2017 at 9:56 pm
      The automatic computer editor does not seem to like A-S-S-ociation(s) and A-S-S-sault in my comment above just as it deleted G-A-N-D-hi or L-I-N-G-ua franca elsewhere used by commenters.
      Reply
    2. S
      Sra
      Jun 8, 2017 at 5:59 pm
      Chor machai shor BJP OR RSS ALL ARE SAME . DAYS ARE NUMBERED
      Reply
      1. P
        Prem Silhi
        Jun 12, 2017 at 6:15 pm
        बीजेपी सरकार भारतीय जनता के लिए काम कर रही है| तुम शोर मचाना बंद करो|
        Reply
      2. D
        devinder budhiraja
        Jun 8, 2017 at 8:53 am
        PM Narendra Modi promised 50 percent profit margin on cost of produce in his election speeches before 2014 elections. Where that promise gone. Was that another JUMLA like15 lakhs rupees of black money in swiss banks to each to capture power. Now the BJP is targeting media which do not toe government line. We are in situation which is worse than emergency. CBI is acting out of its jurisdiction by targeting Pranab Roy on an issue between two private companies while it is sitting silent on issues which involves thousand of crores of loans from public banks pending from Adani and Ambani.
        Reply