Mandsaur firing: Cops deny role in farmer deaths during agitation
A senior officer did not even mention the deaths of two others during his deposition before a one-man panel probing the violent stir that capped a crippling farm crisis in the state.india Updated: Mar 23, 2018 23:15 IST
Madhya Pradesh police appeared to be washing their hands of the death of five farmers during an agitation last year, with one officer saying that two people were killed by gunshots allegedly fired by the protesters.
Another senior officer did not even mention the deaths of two others during his deposition before a one-man panel probing the violent stir that capped a crippling farm crisis in the state.
While owning up to the killing of one farmer during the agitation in Mandsaur district on June 6 last year, police blamed it on “accidental firing” due to alleged stone-pelting by the protesters.
HT has assessed transcripts of the deposition by Sai Krishna S Thota, the then city superintendent of police, Mandsaur and additional SP, Sunder Singh Kanesh.
The BJP government led by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan constituted the judicial commission headed by Justice JK Jain immediately after the incident. Though asked to submit its report within six months, the panel was given an extension on March 12.
Thota could not be contacted. ASP Sunder Singh Kanesh said that since a judicial commission is looking into the case, he wouldn’t comment.
Home minister Bhupendra Singh did not take calls and also did not respond to text messages.
The version of events given by police runs counter to statements given by eyewitnesses and family members of the deceased.
“The government itself has admitted that police firing killed and injured the farmers. I was an eyewitness and it was the police who fired the shots,” said Govind Patidar, brother of Chainram Patidar, one of the victims.
Senior advocate Anand Mohan Mathur, who is appearing for the farmers, said, “We fear that everything is being manipulated and no one is taking responsibility on who fired the fatal shots. To buttress their case, the police have shown that they recovered arms two days after the incident.”