The farmers’ protest in Maharashtra’s Mandsaur intensified further on Wednesday as 8-10 vehicles were set on fire, reports said. On Tuesday, five persons were killed as the farmers’ agitation turned violent in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh, prompting the authorities to clamp curfew in the trouble-hit area.
Some eyewitnesses alleged that the victims suffered bullet wounds, but Mandsaur district authorities denied that police fired on the protesters, who were on a rampage. While the Congress called for state bandh on Wednesday, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan blamed the opposition party for instigating the violence.
Mandsaur collector S K Singh confirmed death of five persons and said a magisterial inquiry has been ordered. As tension prevailed, mobile internet service were suspended in Mandsaur, Ratlam and Neemuch districts since morning to check spread of rumours.
Here are the live updates:
Vehicles parked at a police station in Devas's Hatpipalya set on fire during farmers' agitation in Madhya Pradesh
Injustice with farmers in Madhya Pradesh, I demand proper investigation into Mandsaur incident: Kamal Nath, Congress MP
Can't recall such a massacre, they are giving death figures as 5,6 but I believe there are more. Met Rahul ji today, we are planning to go there (Mandsaur, MP). We will go together if we do: Sharad Yadav
-Rahul Gandhi wanted to visit deceased farmers' village to take part in funeral but administration didn't permit: Cong Gen Secy Mohan Prakash
-But Rahul Gandhi can reach there any moment. Wrong info being spread that he would participate in farmers' agitation: Mohan Prakash
Farmers's agitation further intensifies in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur, 8-10 vehicles set on fire
Farmers's agitation further intensifies in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur, 8-10 vehicles set on fire pic.twitter.com/xPe4ZFBlJM— ANI (@ANI_news) June 7, 2017
Singh also said that police categorically told him that they did not fire at the protesters. Curfew has been imposed in Pipalya Mandi police station area of Mandsaur district where the incident took place, while prohibitory orders restricting movement under section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in rest of the district, the collector said.
According to eyewitnesses, protesting farmers torched vehicles and indulged in stone pelting in Parshvanath area under Pipaliya Mandi police station limits of the district.
The CM announced a financial help of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased.
“I request the farmers to be patient. Do not fall in the trap of anyone. The government stands with farmers. We will solve all problems through discussion,” Chouhan tweeted while blaming Congress for the violence.
Farmers in western Madhya Pradesh are protesting since June one demanding higher minimum support prices (MSP) among others.
In Ratlam, the district collector Ashok Bhargava imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC following the violence in neighbouring Mandsaur district.
Ratlam superintendent of police Amit Singh announced a reward of Rs 10,000 each for information about absconding farmer leaders D P Dhakad, Rajesh Bharava, Bhagwati Patidar (said to be Congress members) and others who were allegedly involved in violence in the district on Sunday in which two police personnel had been injured.
Meanwhile, the state Congress and the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh have given a call for bandh on Wednesday across the state to protest the farmers’ death in Mandsaur.
“We have called for a massive MP bandh tomorrow,” state Congress chief Arun Yadav told PTI.
The Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Ajay Singh, demanded resignation of Chouhan, saying the incident of firing in Mandsaur is shameful for a chief minister who claims to be a farmer’s son.
“All the claims of the chief minister have proved false so far. Now the government is using bullets to suppress farmers’ voice. Chouhan should resign immediately,” the Congress leader said.
The main opposition party also constituted a committee of MLAs “to investigate” the Mandsaur firing incident. Singh and the state Congress chief would visit Mandsaur on Wednesday.
Senior Congress leader and MP Jyotiraditya Scindia also condemned the incident. The BJP government dealt with the agitation through bullets instead of talks, he said.
“This is a black day in the history of the state. It is shameful that the state government is crushing farmers’ agitation. Farmers’ demands are genuine,” Scindia added.
Trouble was reported from many parts of western Madhya Pradesh as farmers’ stir continued for the sixth day today.
In Indore, police used lathi charge following stone-pelting during a march by farmers.
A police officer said that people taking part in the march started throwing stones at the police near Devi Ahilyabai Fruits and Vegetable Market, which led to lathi-charge.
In Dhar, farmers blocked the Indore-Ahmedabad national highway for about three hours. Farmers also staged protests at Amjhera and Ghoda Chowpati in the city.
The shops in the local market remained closed all day in Neemuch city.
Meanwhile, Mahendra Patidar, president of MP Patidar Samaj, said they would cremate the bodies of victims who died in Mandsaur district today only in the presence of the chief minister.
(With inputs from agencies)