Mandsaur: Sixth farmer dies in clashes with police as agitation spreads across state | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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Mandsaur: Sixth farmer dies in clashes with police as agitation spreads across state

The victim, identified as 25-year-old Ghanshyam Dhakkad, was protesting at Daloda village on Tuesday when a policeman struck him on the head with a baton.

bhopal Updated: Jun 12, 2017 17:31 IST
Punya Mitra and Neeraj Santoshi
A toll booth set on fire by agitating farmers in Madhya Pradesh.
A toll booth set on fire by agitating farmers in Madhya Pradesh. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

A farmer who was injured during the ongoing farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh passed away at an Indore hospital on Friday, taking the death toll to six.

The victim, identified as 25-year-old Ghanshyam Dhakkad, was protesting at Daloda village on Tuesday when a policeman struck him on the head with a baton. “They took him to MY government hospital in Indore, but he succumbed to his injuries,” said Durga, Ghanshyam’s father.

Mandsaur MLA Yashpal Sisodiya said the exact cause of the farmer’s death was uncertain. “Only a postmortem will reveal that,” he added.

Five people had died in police firing at Mandsaur the same day, putting the BJP government in the state on the backfoot. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was briefly arrested for trying to enter the strife-torn district on Thursday, despite the authorities warning him against trying to “foment trouble”.

Taking note of the escalating violence, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that he would observe an indefinite fast at the BHEL Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal from 11 am on Saturday to bring farmer leaders to the table for peaceful negotiations.

Meanwhile, the agitation continued to spread across the state. Farmers pelted stones at police personnel trying to prevent them from entering the state capital, blocking the Indore-Bhopal highway and setting a truck on fire.

“No one was injured and we have deployed adequate security forces to prevent any further violence,” a senior police officer in Bhopal said.

Farmers in Damoh surrounded the collector’s office to decry the killing of their counterparts in Mandsaur and demand higher compensation for farm produce. Sporadic clashes between police and farmers were also reported from other districts.

A video of Congress legislator Shakuntla Khatik exhorting farmers in Shivpuri district to burn a police station surfaced on the social media, giving the BJP more ammunition to accuse the Opposition party of spurring the agitators on. Police also prevented a few Congress workers from burning chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan in effigy.

In Sehore, protesters vandalised a highway toll plaza and set a few vehicles on fire. This resulted in a massive jam, inconveniencing hundreds of commuters. When police tried to intervene, the farmers pelted stones at them – resulting in yet another baton-charge.

No untoward incident was reported from Mandsaur, with police securing the entry and exit points of every village in the troubled region. The curfew imposed on the district was also relaxed from 10 am to 6 pm.

Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia decided to cut short his overseas trip and return to India in view of the farmers’ agitation. “He had gone abroad for his son’s medical treatment,” a press release issued by Congress leader Pankaj Chaturvedi stated.