The police on Monday foiled an immolation bid by two Congress MLAs over farmers’ issues near the district collectorate here and detained both of them, an official said. Virendra Jagtap and Yashmomati Thakur, the legislators from Dhamangaon Railway and Teosa constituencies respectively in Amravati district were detained just before they could pour kerosene and set themselves ablaze, Deputy Commissioner of Police Chinmay Pandit said.
The local Congress unit had recently taken out a ‘silent morcha’ and given an ultimatum to the district administration to ask the agricultural produce market committee (APMC) to start procurement of ‘tur’ (a pulse variety) and ‘harbhara’ (gram), Jagtap told PTI.
The party had also demanded that farmers be given arrears of three months for their crops which were already procured, he said. “Since there was no response, we protested against the administration’s apathy by taking out a morcha to the district collectorate today,” he said.
The two MLAs had also threatened to immolate themselves in front of the collectorate. However, the district police had deployed personnel in plain clothes at the place in advance and detained the two legislators when they came to immolate themselves.
The two MLAs were detained and later released, Pandit said. Later Jagtap accused the BJP government of being “thick-skinned” and “insensitive” towards farmers. “With monsoon just around the corner, the government has purchased tur and gram from only 25 to 30 per cent farmers who had registered online. The prices of tur and gram have now fallen,” he said. He claimed that 67 per cent farmers from the district were yet to benefit from the government’s loan waiver scheme.
“Their (farmers’) condition is miserable. They don’t have money to cultivate their land for kharif crops or to pay for labour. It is the government’s good fortune that farmers are letting ministers and (ruling party) MLAs move freely,” he said.
If the situation does not improve, farmers will not let the ministers and legislators move freely, Jagtap warned.