Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu chided the Congress party on Wednesday for politicising the farmers’ protest in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur after at least six farmers were killed and eight others injured in two separate incidents of firing in the area on Tuesday. In a statement to news agency ANI, Naidu said: “Madhya Pradesh is an island of peace. I tell Congress don’t politicise, don’t fuel violence in the name of farmers.”
After Maharashtra, where the government moved to contain a spiralling situation arising out of farmers’ protest through loan waivers, a similar situation quickly turned violent in Mandsaur when at least six farmers were killed and nearly eight others injured in alleged police firing. After protesters alleged that police fired at them, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh, who had earlier denied the charge, later conceded that police may have fired in self-defence at one place. A judicial probe has been ordered and curfew imposed in Mandsaur.
To soothe frayed nerves, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a compensation of Rs 1 crore and a job to the next of kin of each dead and Rs five lakh and free treatment to the injured. A police officer said that out of six deaths, five were killed when farmers tried to storm the Pipalia Mandi police station and resorted to arson. The sixth death took place in Bahi village, which is not too far from Pipalia Mandi. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Patidar Samaj chief Mahendra Patidar said bodies of farmers killed at Pipalia Mandi will not be cremated till the chief minister comes to the spot.
Protesters blocked traffic and torched vehicles in Mandsaur and the adjoining district of Neemuch even as sporadic incidents have occurred elsewhere in the state ever since June 1 when the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) announced the agitation.