Multai to Mandsaur: Farmers face bullets despite changes in regime
The ongoing agitation and Mandsaur firing negate the state’s claim that Madhya Pradesh has made tremendous progress in the agriculture sector in the past 14 years of BJP rule.Updated: Jun 19, 2017 08:29 IST
Nineteen years after 24 farmers were killed in a police firing in Madhya Pradesh’s Multai, the cultivators in the state continue to be at the receiving end of the government’s apathy despite a change of guard in Bhopal.
At least five farmers were killed and several injured in police firing in the state’s Mandsaur district on Tuesday.
“Goli chalaane waale wahi log, goli khaane waale wahi log, kewal goli chalwaane waale badal gaye. (It’s the same people (police) who fired bullets then; those who faced bullets too are same people (farmers); only those who ordered the firing have changed (government),” said ex-MLA Sunilam, who had led the Multai agitation, drawing a parallel between the two incidents.
Then the main demands of the farmers were Rs 5,000 compensation per hectare for their soybean crop against Rs 400 as had been promised by the government. Now the main demands include fixing of minimum prices of agriculture produce including vegetables and fruits and loan waiver.
The crux of the issue remains the same — the farmers not getting their dues. The ongoing agitation and Mandsaur firing negate the state’s claim that Madhya Pradesh has made tremendous progress in the agriculture sector in the past 14 years of BJP rule. The drought-ravaged region also recorded a farm suicide every five hours in 2016-17.
This is the second time during the BJP regime that police fired on agitating farmers. A farmer was killed in Bareli a few years ago in the police firing. Former agriculture director GS Kaushal said farmers have witnessed hardly any difference in their life in all these years due to flawed policies of the governments.
Politicians on their part, however, continue to trade charges without addressing the real issue.
Cornered by the Congress on death of five farmers in Mandsaur, the BJP leaders including union minister Venkaiah Naidu and party’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya were prompt to remind the former about the death of 24 farmers in Multai when it was in power. Incidentally, the then Congress government had blamed the BJP for the Multai violence. In a role reversal, the BJP is now accusing the Congress of inciting the violence.
“In 1998 it was a state killing whereas the 2017 incident is the outcome of a horrible mistake committed by a police officer,” said BJP leader Dr Hitesh Bajpai.
State Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia said BJP is raising the 1998 issue out of frustration as its failure to do anything for the farmers got exposed.