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Govt officer ‘advises’ brother of man killed in Mandsaur firing not to meet Rahul Gandhi

Families six persons killed during farmers’ protest on June 6 last year met Gandhi before his rally in Pipliyamandi near Mandsaur.

Madhya Pradesh Elections 2018 Updated: Jun 06, 2018 19:30 IST
Punya Priya Mitra and Rohit Soni
Punya Priya Mitra and Rohit Soni
Hindustan Times, Mandsaur
Mandsaur,Mandsaur police firing,Rahul Gandhi
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia meet with people during their party’s farmers rally in Pipliya Mandi in Mandsaur district on June 06, 2018. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

The brother of a farmer who died in police firing in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, last year was advised by a government officer to skip Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s rally and also dissuade his parents from meeting the politician.

The families the six persons killed during farmers’ protest on June 6 last year met Gandhi before his rally in Pipliyamandi, near Mandsaur on Wednesday.

Sandeep Patidar, brother of Abhishek who died in the police firing, said that someone gave him a message that the Garot Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) R P Verma wanted to talk to him. “When I spoke to him, Verma advised me not to take part in Rahul Gandhi’s rally. I told him that my parents would be meeting Rahul Gandhi, but as I work in Bhanpura I wouldn’t be going to the rally in any case,” said Patidar.

The Madhya Pradesh government gave Sandeep a job and Rs 1-crore compensation to the Patidar family after Abhishek’s death.

The Congress condemned Verma’s “advice” and accused the administration of bowing to the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party government. “This is absolute violation of a person’s democratic rights. No one can stop anyone from meeting Rahul Gandhi. I blame the state government more than the local administration, as the latter is working under pressure,” said Congress leader and former MP Meenakshi Natrajan.

Verma said he advised Sandeep not to meet Gandhi or attend his rally for he is a government servant. “It was friendly advice as I did not want him to get into any trouble,” said Verma.

Mandsaur collector O P Shrivastava said that the Congress had given the administration a list of 15 people who would meet Gandhi. “We granted the permission, so there is no question of stopping anyone,” said Shrivastava, adding Sandeep should not take part in political rallies as he is a government servant.

Sandeep and Abhishek’s parents Jagdish Patidar and Mamta Patidar alleged that the police were keeping tabs on them. Jagdish said he feared that the government might harm Sandeep. “I have already lost a son. I don’t want to lose another one. From now I won’t be able sleep in peace at night,” he said.

Acting tough on the ongoing farmer’s ‘Gaon bandh’ strike which has coincided with the first anniversary of the deaths, the administration has made over 1200 farmers of Mandsaur sign bonds promising that they won’t disturb peace.

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 18:39 IST