Congress president Rahul Gandhi will visit Piplya Mandi village near Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh on June 6, the first death anniversary of six farmers who were killed in police firing during a protest there last year.
During his visit, Gandhi is will hold a condolence meeting-cum-rally, the Congress said on Wednesday. The party, however, alleged that the district administration has given permission to the event by imposing 19 different conditions, one of which asks Gandhi not to make a “provocative” speech.
The opposition party alleged that the BJP-led government in Madhya Pradesh wanted to disturb Gandhi’s event through such conditions. When asked, the district administration, however, said it was in the process of “amending” its previous order (in which the conditions were set). The event is being seen as the launch of Congress’s poll campaign in the state, which will witness the Assembly polls later this year.
“Rahulji is coming here to condole the deaths of six farmers at Pipliya Mandi, the epicentre of last year’s farmers unrest,” MP Congress chief spokesperson Manak Agrawal said. One lakh people are expected to take part in the meeting, he added. Sharing a copy of the district administration’s permission letter, Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said, “The district administration has given its nod to the event with certain conditions like the maximum size of the tent spread for the rally can’t be more than 15X15 feet, no loudspeakers above 10 decibel limit.”
The letter also reads that the organisers shall be held responsible if the vehicles of anyone participating in the rally are stolen, he said, adding that “besides, the Congress was also asked to arrange for the security of the event”. “One of the conditions also says that the Congress chief should not make any provocative speech,” Chaturvedi said. He alleged that imposing such conditions was a deliberate attempt to stop Gandhi from reaching out to people.
MP Congress chief Kamal Nath in a tweet said, “The Shivraj Singh government, which did not allow Rahul ji to enter Mandsaur following the farmers’ killing, again wants to wants to disturb Rahul ji’s meeting of June 6 and muzzle the voice of farmers by laying the conditions.” “Will the same conditions be laid for the meetings of Modi ji and all the BJP leaders in future?” he asked. When contacted, District Collector O P Shrivastava said, “We are amending the previous order related to the Congress event. Under the revised order, they can use the site as per their needs.”
Tehsildar of the Malhargarh area of the district, Parasmal Kunhara said permission for the Congress rally was granted on four hectares of land. “They can use the land as per their wish. The conditions were inadvertently pasted on the order earlier,” he said. Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh said the police would make security arrangements for the event.
“Holding a public meeting is their constitutional right. We will make all arrangements to maintain law and order. We have already detained 350 habitual offenders and criminals in view of this programme and such action is going to continue,” he said.
Gandhi was detained in Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh en route Mandsaur in June last year to meet the families of the farmers killed in the police firing during their protest.