One farmer was wounded in police firing and a cop injured when farmers clashed with the police at a cotton procurement centre at Wani in Yavatmal district on Friday. Local sources, however, claim that four persons, three of them farmers and one woman, have sustained injuries.
Minister for Marketing, Harshavardhan Patil, while making a statement before the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly after the incident said that one farmer had been injured when police fired in the air to disperse the angry mob. According to Patil, farmers who had gathered at the procurement centre were upset at the slow speed of the grader. They were also unhappy with the grading done, it is learnt.
The situation turned tense as farmers turned their ire on the grader and officials at the centre. Police were called on the spot. The mob also clashed with the police injuring a cop and forcing the police to fire in the air. One farmer, Pandurang Jumnake, was injured in the process, Patil said.
According to local sources at Wani, more than 2000 bullock-carts and other vehicles carrying cotton had queued up before the procurement centre over the last three days. Farmers claimed to be waiting for close to four days for their turn. The grader, they complained was not just slow but also asking bribes for clearing their produce on time. Hardly, twenty to twenty-five cartloads were being cleared daily, they claim.
Finally the angry farmers entered into an altercation with the grader. He called the police resulting in the clash. According to sources, apart from Pandurang Jumnake, the other injured are Dhanraj Jumnake, Dinesh Gugul and Gita Jain.
Jain, it is learnt, was only an onlooker at the spot. Even after the incident, the farmers continued to be angry and raised slogans. The situation continued to be tense and Guardian Minister Manohar Naikmanaged tried to quieten them only after an assurance that action would be taken against the police for firing.