• After Maharashtra, MP Farmers’ Stir: 6 Die In Firing

    After Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh is burning due to the ongoing protest by farmers seeking loan waiver. On Tuesday, the rage took an ugly turn when at least six farmers were killed and eight others injured in separate incidents of firing in Mandsaur. Curfew has been imposed in the area.

    What really happened?

    It’s been 10 days that the farmers have started a protest demanding higher rates for their produce and waiver of loans. The agitation, which was a non-violent protest, took a turn for the worse after protesters alleged that police pointed the rifles at them and fired first, MP home minister Bhupendra Singh claimed. He had earlier dismissed the charges, but later admitted that the police had fired first at the agitated farmers, but only in self-defence.

    “There were two incidents at Pipalia. In one of the incidents, police had to fire in self-defence when a mob gheraoed the police station. In the other incident, the police fired when there was firing from the mob,” the home minister said, Hindustan Times reported.

    judicial probe has been instituted. The deceased were identified as Kanhaiyalal Patidar, Babloo Patidar, Chainram Patidar, Abhishek Patidar, Nathulal Patidar and Prem Singh Patidar.

    Is Government taking any measures?

    Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is trying to make things better through compensation. A sum of Rs 1 crore has been announced for the family members of each of the deceased. Also, the next kin would be given employment. On the other hand, the injured would be given Rs 5 lakh and free treatment.

    The protest:

    Starting from June 1, in Mandsaur and the neighbouring district of Neemuch, protesters set ablaze vehicles, targeted railway tracks, blocked traffic and fought police officers. The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) announced the agitation, demanding minimum support price for their farm produce, including other things. Despite Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan trying to assure them that his government was taking all necessary steps to address the issues, things took a drastic turn. He had earlier promised a price stabilisation fund of Rs 1,000 crore to procure the farm produce at the minimum support price (MSP). Matters worsened after the Centre’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes in November last year.

    A similar stir has been on in Maharashtra over the past few weeks. Farmers had taken to the streets, shutting down wholesale markets in protest. This led to a surge in vegetable prices, besides the state facing shortage of milk. As mark of protest, the farmers had dropped milk on the streets, and blocked highways while preventing delivery trucks from reaching city markets. The impasse was lifted after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis promised a loan waiver to small and marginal farmers who were out of the ‘institutional credit system’.

    Maharashtra has witnessed the highest number of farmer suicides between 2014 and 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, the state saw an 18 per cent jump — from 2,568 to 3,030.

    Feature Image Credit: The Indian Express

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