The ongoing farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh took a violent turn on Tuesday when five protesters were killed in firing on Mandsaur-Neemuch highway. Home Minister Bhupendra Singh claimed that neither the local police nor CRPF opened fire on protesters. He said a probe has been initiated. Singh also praised the police for showing remarkable resilience despite the attempts to intensify the stir in the last 5-6 days. Pretending to be farmers, some anti-social elements were engaging in loot and arson, he claimed.
The protesters burned several vehicles last night and were in no mood to relent on Tuesday morning. The agitation disrupted traffic movement on the Mandsaur highway. At least four protesters were injured in the firing. Two of them died during treatment at the hospital.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered a judicial probe into the incident. The chief minister alleged that the Congress had a hand in inciting violence.
On Monday, the CM had claimed that farmers were satisfied with the measures he had taken over the last two days to address their grievances. After the death of protesters, the BJP was forced to cancel a programme organised to felicitate the CM. CM Chouhan announced Rs 10 lakh compensation to the families of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh for those who are critically injured.
The farmers are demanding better remuneration for their produce and also a loan waiver. On Sunday, the farmers belonging to the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), an organisation affiliated to the RSS, called off the protest while another farmers’ union said the agitation will continue. President of Kisan Mazdoor, Sangh Shivkumar Sharma said the government had cheated farmers by holding talks with an organisation that was nowhere in the picture in the first two days of the stir seeking fair price for their produce and loan waiver.