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Mandsaur: Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar arrested on way to meet farmers’ families

On June 6, violence erupted in Mandsaur where four days of rioting resulted in the deaths of five farmers and the destruction of crops, farms, shops, and trucks.

india Updated: Jul 07, 2017 00:08 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Mandsaur
Mandsaur violence,Mandsaur,Yogendra Yadav
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, NAPM’s Medha Patkar and others take party in Kisan Mukti Yatra in Mandsaur on July 6, a month after six farmers were killed in the police firing in the Madhya Pradesh district.(PTI Photo)

Tens and hundreds of farmers including Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav, NBA leader Medha Patkar and Maharashtra MP Raju Shetti were arrested at village Gutbeli Mor some 10 km from Pipliyamandi, where they were going to pay their respect to the six farmers who were killed in police firing and lathi charge exactly a month ago in Mandsaur.

The collector Omprakash Shrivastava said they were arrested because prohibitory orders have been imposed in Pipliyamandi and they were arrested for violating it. The protestors who were squatting on the road for over an hour before they were escorted to the waiting buses amidst slogan shouting.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Yogendra Yadav said that the state government was trying to prevent the peaceful farmers’ movement by coercion. “Police have been placed everywhere. Many farmers were prevented from joining the agitation by threatening them.”

The farmers some of whom are from Maharashtra, Rajasthan and even Tamil Nadu were taking out a Kisan Mukti Yatra under the banner of Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, a broad alliance of many organizations. They are mainly demanding a loan waiver and remunerative price for their produce. The yatra is scheduled to reach Delhi ahead of monsoon session of the parliament while passing through several states, including Maharashtra and Rajasthan. The yatra will stay for three days in Madhya Pradesh. The monsoon session is to begin on July 17.

MP Raju Shetti said that they were not against any government, something that Shivraj Singh should understand. “We are against the overall system that is literally killing the farmers and we will do everything peacefully.”

The yatra comes at a time when many farmers are busy tilling their fields for the kharif crop. But a rattled Shivraj Singh government is desperately trying to soothe the frayed nerves of the farmers who are angry over the killings and mainly because of the killings and un-remunerative prices of their produce at a time of bumper production.

In the past one month, he has been trying his best to woo the farmers back, who form three-fourths of the electorate, through a series of measures. Apart from giving Rs 1 crore in compensation to those killed in the firing and Rs 5 lakh to those injured – an unheard of sum for people getting killed in police firing – Shivraj Singh Chouhan has personally visited the families of those killed. He has also purchased over 7 tonne of onions from farmers at Rs 8 per kg during the past fortnight, to give relief to the farmers who had a bumper harvest this year. This exercise will cost the exchequer around Rs 1200 to Rs 1500 crores, a huge sum for a poor state like Madhya Pradesh. He has also waived off power bills of small farmers who own less than one hectare of land, which will cost the exchequer an estimated Rs 700 crores. The BJP is also taking out a Kisan Sandesh Yatra at present, but they have been met with hostility in several place in Malwa area.

The Congress too has been trying to mobilize the farmers against the government as they smell a good opportunity to channel the farmers’ anger into electoral gains in the 2018 elections. Out of power for the last 14 years in the state, the Congress has held demonstrations for the farmers all over the state. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had attempted to meet the family of farmers killed in police firing, but was prevented as was Jyotiraditya Scindia. Continuing with the tempo, on Thursday, led by state president Arun Yadav, they held a demonstration and plan to court arrest at Malhargarh area of Mandsaur district.

First Published: Jul 06, 2017 16:50 IST