Protesting farmers in the Mandsaur region of Madhya Pradesh clashed with the district collector and Superintendent of Police on Wednesday over their delayed visit to the region, reported news agency ANI. They reportedly chased away these officers from their protest. They are demanding a meeting with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Their protests entered the sixth day today, with farmers demanding loan waivers and better prices for their crops. At least 8-10 vehicles were torched today in Mandsaur.
Curfew was imposed in Mandsaur last evening, after six farmers were allegedly killed and eight injured in two separate incidents of police firing. A judicial probe has been ordered to ascertain who gave the order to fire. State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh, who had earlier denied police involvement, later conceded that they may have fired in self-defence at one place. Read: Don’t politicise the issue, Venkaiah Naidu tells Congress. Click here.
“There was no order to open fire, I have assured them (farmers) a strict action,” Mandsaur Collector Swantra Singh was quoted as saying by ANI, a day after the Home Minister’s remarks. Chief Minister Chouhan on Tuesday had announced compensation of Rs 1 crore and a job to each of the next of kin, and a compensation of Rs 5 lakh and free treatment to the injured.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu appealed to the Congress not to politicise the issue. In a statement to ANI, he said, “Madhya Pradesh is an island of peace. I tell Congress don’t politicise, don’t fuel violence in the name of farmers.” The BJP-led administration in the state denied Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi permission to visit the region today.
Former MP from Mandsaur and Congress leader Meenakshi Natarajan was detained by the police while trying to meet the farmers. Read more.
Farmers began their agitation on June 1, demanding higher Minimum Support Prices (MSP) and loan waivers in the wake of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s decision to waive all loans in the state. The protests turned violent on Monday, after incidents of torched vehicles and stone-pelting were reported Parshvanath area.