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Rajasthan govt wakes up from slumber as farmers’ agitation looms

The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) will launch protests across Rajasthan from June 16.

jaipur Updated: Jun 13, 2017 20:20 IST
Manoj Ahuja
Manoj Ahuja
Hindustan Times
Farmers agitation,Mandsaur,Rajasthan
Farmers in Jodhpur and Alwar have decided to join the farmers’ movement and will protest on June 16.(HT File Photo)

Worried over the possibility of farmers’ agitation in Rajasthan going the Mandsaur way, the BJP-led state government is pulling all the stops to defuse a potentially explosive situation. The farmers have been warning the state government of an agitation since April but the government has failed to respond so far.

On June 6, five farmers were allegedly killed in police firing in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district during a protest.

While the state government has cancelled leaves of all police personnel, sources said that it is also in touch with RSS leaders in a bid to put pressure on the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) to call off its sit-in agitation from Thursday. However, a state RSS leader, who did not want to be named, told HT that there’s no question of intervention at this stage. “We would like to keep distant from both BKS and the BJP government on this issue. It is BKS’ right to raise farmer’s issues and we cannot stop them from doing so,” he said.

Rajasthan Congress, which has openly come out in support of the farmers, will be launching a statewide protest on Wednesday. State Congress president Sachin Pilot attacked the state government claiming that farmers’ suicide is on the rise and lakhs of farmers in Rajasthan are yet to get compensation for unseasonal rains and hailstorms that struck three years ago.

While state agriculture minister Prabhulal Saini has tried to pass the buck by saying that minimum support price (MSP) of the crop is fixed by the Centre, Congress has rejected the argument and pointed out that farmers have not got even the MSP for many crops, including groundnut and mustard.

The state government on Monday announced the purchase of 10,000 metric tonne of garlic at ₹3,200 per quintal as damage control but it’s mum on other demands of the farmers.

“No minister or government representative has invited us for talks,” BKS state general secretary Kailash Gandolia told HT.

BKS has said that their demonstration would be peaceful but the farmers’ body has also warned the government that if any anti-social elements join the agitation and resort to violence, it will then be the sole responsibility of the state government.

Meanwhile, state home minister Gulabchand Kataria chaired a high-level meet on Tuesday to review security arrangements in the wake of farmers’ agitation. Sources in the home ministry said they don’t anticipate any trouble from BKS but don’t rule out the possibility of anti-social elements taking advantage of the situation to foment trouble.

First Published: Jun 13, 2017 20:20 IST