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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

MP farmers protest highlights: After attack on collector, CM Chouhan appeals for peace, announces measures

The BJP and Congress are locked in a slugfest over the death of five farmers in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered an inquiry, as several vehicles were torched and the collector roughed up.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2017 21:39 IST
Punya Priya Mitra and Neeraj Santoshi
Punya Priya Mitra and Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Mandsaur
Burnt vehicles on the Mhow- Neemuch highway in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.
Burnt vehicles on the Mhow- Neemuch highway in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.(Mujeeb Faruqui/ HT Photo)

The farmers intensified protests across Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday despite chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s appeals for peace after police firing killed five of the protesters in Mandsaur who were on the warpath for better crop prices and loan waiver.

The farmers heckled Mandsaur district collector Swatantra Kumar Singh, forcing him to retreat from the blockade site on Mhow-Neemuch highway at Barkhedapath, located about 20 km from Mandsaur town.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an emergency meeting on Wednesday as the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh scrambled to contain the snowballing farmer protests in Mandsaur. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will visit the area on Thursday.

Political leaders exchanged barbs with the Congress blaming the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of neglecting farmers’ issues and the ruling BJP accusing the opposition party of fueling protests.

The Centre said it had sent 1,100 anti-riots police personnel to Mandsaur and would send five additional battalions of paramilitary force to Madhya Pradesh. Five battalions are already deployed.

Here are the highlights of how the protest unfolded on Wednesday:

8. 20pm: Rahul Gandhi tweets that he is visiting Mandasaur on Thursday, hours after Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi slammed ‘rumours’ that the Congress vice-president participating in the ongoing farmers protest.

7.30pm: The Central government will send five additional battalions of paramilitary force to Madhya Pradesh. Five battalions are already deployed.

6.30pm: Agitation by farmers in Mandsaur district has affected train services in Rajasthan. Several trains have been diverted or cancelled, North-West Railways spokesperson said.

6.09pm: Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot accuses the BJP-ruled states of being “insensitive” towards farmers and suppressing their voice.

6.08pm: The Punjab Congress demands the resignation of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the death of five farmers in Mandsaur.

6.05pm: Centre sends 1,100 anti-riots police personnel to Mandsaur where five were killed in violence during a protest by farmers.

5.42pm: The chief minister announced the government will launch a ‘debt resolution scheme’ to lessen the pressure of loan defaulters.

5.32pm: The government will purchase summer moong dal for Rs 5,225 per quintal and tuar and urad Dal moong for 5,050 per quintal between June 10 and 30, the chief minister has announced.

5.30pm: CM Chouhan said his government is creating price stabilisation fund for Rs 1000 crore. It will help farmers get the exact cost of their products.

5.22pm: Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says his government has taken many big decisions in the interests of farmers. “We are with the farmers in their times of sorrow.”

5.15pm: M Deuskar, the Madhya Pradesh inspector general (law and order), said violence reported in Ujjain, Dewas, Mandsaur, Neemuch and Sehore. curfew imposed only in Mandsaur and Piplia Mandi.

4.45pm: Farmers in MP’s Sehore district vandalise vehicles demanding loan waiver and better procurement prices.

4.30pm: Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of the farmers death, sought explanation from senior officers on the incident.

4.20pm: Amid farmers protest in Madhya Pradesh, Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh has called off a cabinet briefing and a scheduled press conference in New Delhi.

4.18pm: “Farmers were seeking loan waivers and right price, but BJP killed them by bullets. This is the sad reality of Mandsaur,” says Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi.

4.15pm: Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi questions the BJP government, says it has insulted the farmers of India.

4.10pm: Meanwhile in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena leaders get head tonsured as a mark of support to protesting farmers in Beed.

Shiv Sena leaders in Beed get head tonsured as a mark of support to protesting farmers.
Shiv Sena leaders in Beed get head tonsured as a mark of support to protesting farmers. ( ANI )

3.48pm: Police bolster security arrangements around the Bhopal border to stop farmers from marching to the state capital.

3.45pm: Protests are spreading to neighbouring Dewas district. Farmers pelt stones at police station and torch vehicles parked inside the premises.

In Neemuch district, farm protests force police to fire tear-gas shells as locals try to set police station ablaze.

In capital Bhopal, farmers protest, burn effigy of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and damage vehicles.

3.35pm: Amid farmers protest in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, RBI governor Urjit Patel said farm loan waiver is a path that needs to be tread carefully.

Patel said the risk of going down the “slippery path” of waiver could dissipate the important gains that the states made in fiscal rectitude over the last 2/3 years.

3.32pm: Madhya Pradesh home ministry writes to Union home ministry asking for additional forces in Neemuch, Mandsaur, Dewas and Ujjain where farmers are on the warpath, news agency ANI reported.

3.31pm: “I am a farmer and understand your problems. You can be assured your government implement all things,” CM Chouhan said in a tweet.

3.30pm: CM Chouhan urged people to not pay attention to rumours, saying he is constantly in touch with officials.

3.28pm: Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan appeals for peace in Mandsaur in a fresh series of tweets.

3:10pm: The government is committed to the welfare of farmers, but those elements trying to disturb the law and order situation in the state will be dealt with sternly, says Chitnis.

3:07pm: The MP government will encourage farmers to go for crop insurance, but it will be made optional from now on, says minister Chitnis.

3:05pm: MP government has already started procuring onions at Rs 8 per kg. Around 4,500 quintals have been procured across the state, says minister Archana Chitnis.

3:03pm: MP government will provide support price for moong and tur. Support price of Rs 5,025 per quintal for moong and Rs 5,050 per quintal for tur will be provided to the farmers, says Archana Chitnis.

3:01pm: Madhya Pradesh minister Archana Chitnis said farmers would be provided 50% cash and the rest through RTGS (real time gross settlement)) when they sell their produce at the ‘krishi mandis’.

2:55pm: A senior police officer said what unnerved them was the statement of collector Swatantra Kumar Singh that no order was given to police to start firing, and the rapid politicisation of the issue.

2:52pm: On the ground, situation is tense but no fresh incidents of violence. “We are doing our best to control the situation, and taking action wherever necessary,” said inspector general of police Madhukumar.

2:50pm: State BJP spokesman Rajneesh Agarwal defends government and maintains that the Congress’s plans of provoking farmers would come to a naught, pointing to the central-government’s Krishi Karman award that Madhya Pradesh won five times in a row and the state’s annual agricultural growth of about 20%.

2:46pm: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley and road transport minister Nitin Gadkari attend PM Modi’s emergency meet.

2:45pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds emergency meet with top ministers over Mandsaur protests, takes stock of situation.

2:42pm: Krishi Cabinet has approved Rs 1000 crore for Krishi Mulya Sthirikaran Kosh, says MP minister Archana Chitnis.

2:40pm: Madhya Pradesh minister Archana Chitnis says government will start Krishi Rin Samadhan Yojana, where interest rate on loans will be lesser, will help defaulting farmers take credit.

2:35pm: “We have been asked not to take on the farmers because our bosses feel it will only complicate the situation. So we are deliberately reaching the spot late to prevent a direct confrontation,” said an officer on duty who not willing to be named.

2:30pm: “I express grief over this incident. I express condolence to the deceased farmers’ families. Shivraj is capable of tackling the problem of these farmers,” Raman Singh tells the media in Raipur.

2:27pm: “This is a sad event, and as chief minister Shivraj Singh has said, there is political influence in it. The innocent farmers are being used for political motive,” says Raman Singh.

2:25pm: Eyewitnesses say police mute during arson and violence. Police arrived an hour after the collector was manhandled. Off the record, officers say they are spooked by rapid politicisation of the incident and protests.

2:20pm: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh says innocent farmers are being used for political motives.

2:15pm: This is a Congress conspiracy. They are fuelling violence. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has focussed on agriculture: BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayavargiya.

2:10pm: Police arrive in Mandsaur, hours after vehicles were torched. Most suspects have left the place and escaped into nearby villages. Police standing by.

2:05pm: Angry farmers set ablaze a small factory owned by one of the traders who had beaten the farmers.

2:01pm: The last rites of a farmer who died in police firing on Tuesday, Abhishek Patidar, has been performed.

1:58pm: “PM (Narendra Modi) has ordered an inquiry and the truth will come out. I ask the Congress why they want instant solution to farmers’ problems in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh when they have no solution for farmers in Congress-ruled Karnataka?” asks Venkaiah Naidu.

1:57pm: Vehicles parked at a police station in Devas’s Hatpipalya set on fire, during farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh, reports ANI.

1:55pm: “I just want to warn the Congress not to fuel violence in the name of farmers. It will boomerang on you. Whatever the condition of farmers across the country is because of the long years of neglect of the agricultural sector by you (Congress),” says Venkaiah Naidu.

1:54pm: “They (farmers) might not be getting ideal price for their crops and they are protesting against that, sure, and the state government is addressing these issues, Congress is politicising it,” Venkaiah Naidu tells PTI.

1:53pm: “… 20% of farmers in the country are in MP... he (Chouhan) has encouraged them, has got them land and electricity. Because of this, their production has increased,” says Venkaiah Naidu.

1:52pm: Madhya Pradesh is among the best performing states on all counts and Chouhan is one of the BJP’s best chief ministers, says Venkaiah Naidu.

1:51pm: “It is a very sad turn of events in a state that is the most peaceful state in India. Congress is trying to politicise farmers’ problems after they failed to counter Shivraj Singh Chouhan politically in the state,” Naidu tells PTI.

1:50pm: Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu blames Congress for instigating farmers in Mandsaur

1.46pm: Kamal Nath demands “proper investigation” into injustice with farmers in Mandsaur.

1:45pm: Congress leader Kamal Nath says CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan must resign. “At the end, it is his responsibility, and it would be unjustified if shifted on any police officer.”

1:32pm: “Met Rahul ji today, we are planning to go there (Mandsaur, MP). We will go together if we do,” Sharad Yadav of JD (U)

1:28pm: “Can’t recall such a massacre, they are giving death figures as 5,6 but I believe there are more,” says Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (United), reports ANI.

1:27pm: Inspector general of police in Ujjain V Madhukumar told HT, “In response to the message that Rahul Gandhi wants to land at Neemuch, we have communicated that the airstrip is not operational.”

1:24pm: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to visit violence-hit Mandsaur on Thursday, party sources told HT in Delhi.

1:21pm: Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was so pained by the death of five farmers that he didn’t eat on Tuesday evening, says BJP. “We almost forced him to eat at least one chapati. We should do justice to this son of farmer also”, said BJP vice-president Prabhat Jha.

Violence has erupted in Mandsaur again on Wednesday, a day after five farmers were killed in police firing.
Violence has erupted in Mandsaur again on Wednesday, a day after five farmers were killed in police firing. ( HT PHOTO )

1:17pm: Congress is playing with blood and corpses of farmers , says BJP national vice-president Prabhat Jha.

1:15pm: Rahul Gandhi can reach Mandsaur any moment, says Congress. “Wrong info being spread that he would participate in farmers’ agitation,” state party leader Mohan Prakash tells ANI

1:13pm: “Is this how Shivraj Chouhan Govt responds to farmers demands? A demand for a fair price is met with death,” tweets the Congress party.

1:10pm: “Shivraj ji has done a lot of work for farmers, in the agriculture sector. Mandsaur incident is unfortunate,” says Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh

1:07pm: Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh and state Congress president Arun Yadav have been denied permission to visit Mandsaur . No clarity on when Rahul Gandhi will visit the spot.

1:03pm: Farmers fighting for their rights have died and the government is blaming the opposition. What can be more shameful than this,” tweets senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.

1:01pm: Internet services being suspended in neighbouring districts of Ratlam, Neemuch, and Ujjain until further notice, ANI reports

12:55pm: Funerals of the five deceased farmers in Mandsaur on Tuesday haven’t occurred yet. Farmers have demanded that chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visit the spot.

12:50pm: Unidentified people torch 8-10 vehicles in Mandsaur, news agency ANI reports. This is the second straight day of violence after similar burnings on Tuesday.

12:20pm: Protesting farmers heckle Mandsaur district collector Swatantra Kumar Singh and tore his shirt around when he tries to talk to them .

12:10pm: Farmer protesters are sitting with the body of one of the slain farmers, Abhishek Patidar, on the Mhow-Neemuch highway, demanding a government response

12:00pm: “Police killed our children, who had gone in support of our just demands. We want action against them,” said a farmer in Pipliyamandi.

11:45pm: Farmers demand the government immediately hand over compensation of Rs 1 crore each to the kin of the five dead farmers. “We want the money now. We will not believe in the assurances of the government till we have the cheque in our hand,” said a protester.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jun 07, 2017 12:48 IST

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