Six farmers were killed in the June 6 police firing in Mandsaur: MP govt
The Madhya Pradesh government on Tuesday said six persons were killed and as many were injured in the police action during the farmers’ stir in Mandsaur district, as it blamed drug peddlers and anti-social elements for triggering violence.
The state government had on June 8 conveyed to the Centre that five farmers were killed in Mandsaur in police firing on June 6. However, one more farmer had died later, with his kin accusing the police of assaulting him.
“Six persons were killed and as many others were injured in the police action, including firing, to check unruly protesters during the farmers’ unrest in Mandsaur,” Home Minister Bhupendra Singh told the Legislative Assembly here.
He was replying to an adjournment motion on the second day of the monsoon session.
Describing the unfolding of the events on June 6, Singh said, “Besides blocking a highway, the protesters had also damaged and torched vehicles. They were pelting the police with stones, which forced the police to fire in self defence at Pipaliya Mandi in Mandsaur district.”
He said the police had used the total of 895 tear gas shells to quell the protests.
According to Singh, as many as 109 police personnel were injured during the violence.
A judicial commission, headed by retired judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Justice JK Jain, is probing the Mandsaur police firing episode.
The home minister also refuted the Opposition’s charge that the government had framed farmers as drug peddlers and arrested them during the stir.
He rebutted the reports of more than 65 farmers committing suicide since June 10 due to reasons like indebtedness, failure of crops and over unsettled insurance claims of damaged farm produce.
Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Gopal Bhargava said the Mandsaur unrest was set off by those involved in peddling opium and its derivatives.
“The peddlers of opium and its derivatives orchestrated the violent unrest in Mandsaur district,” he said.
Bhargava was replying to an adjournment motion brought in by Congress member Govind Singh and his colleagues on the plight of farmers.
He said the people engaged in opium-related trade and some anti-social elements were responsible for the violent farmers’ stir following a crackdown on their illegal business.
To buttress his point, the minister said if farmers in Madhya Pradesh were indeed unhappy, why the stir did not spread to eastern, central or southern parts of the state.
“Why did the violent incidents during the stir remain confined to Mandsaur (in western MP)?” he asked.
Mandsaur, about 320 km from the state capital, was once considered to be the opium hub of the nation.
“No farmer can throw milk or vegetables on roads,” he said, blaming drug peddlers and anti-social elements for such acts during the agitation.
Looking at opposition members, he remarked there should be no politics over the dead and added: “There are many issues to do politics over.”
The Mandsaur incident had triggered a political storm with the opposition Congress demanding resignation of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the state Home minister.