A couple days after five farmers were killed Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur triggering a spate of violence across the state,Shivraj Singh Chouhan government today admitted that the farmers were killed in police firing.
The Madhya Pradesh government has so far been denying any police firing on farmers protest. However, state home minister said that investigations into the incident pointed towards police action.
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“It was investigated and proved that the death of farmers happened because of police firing. Initially, the details provided to me were that police firing did not cause the death of farmers. However, I later amended my statement as soon as I received the right information,” minister Bhupendra Singh said.
Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is on his way to violence-hit Mandsaur where he is expected to meet kin of farmers killed in police firing.
As situation remains tense in Mandsaur, some 325 km from Bhopal, the Congress appears to cash in on the opportunity to build up pressure on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Congress accused the BJP for “acting as a curse of death for Indian farmers” and slammed it for disallowing party Rahul Gandhi from meeting the families of the victims.
“The BJP has almost been acting like a curse of death for Indian farmers, literally – not figuratively. Distressed farmers are viewed by heartless BJP virtually as fodder for opening fire upon,” senior party leader Abhishek Singhvi said.
Farmers in western Madhya Pradesh are protesting since June 1 over various demands.
The protesters demanding better crop prices, among other things, heckled Mandsaur collector Swatantra Singh on Wednesday who denied that police opened fire on protesting farmers.
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The Centre rushed 1,100 personnel of anti-riot Rapid Action Force (RAF) as violence spread to other parts of Madhya Pradesh. Despite curfew in Mandsaur, large scale arsoning and incidents of vehicle burining were reported. Violence was reported in Dewas.
Rattled by the protests, the Shivraj Chouhan government sought to cool the tempers by announcing certain measures, including a loan settlement scheme for those cultivators who had defaulted on repayment of farm loan borrowed by them earlier.
The scheme will cover around six lakh farmers, with accumulated dues of Rs 6000 crore, according to government.
The Madhya Pradesh government also announced setting up of a commission for agricultural costs and marketing to ensure that farmers get benefited by market price for their produce.