MP farmers’ protest: Modi favouring rich, only has bullets for farmers, says Rahul Gandhi
Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh was calm on Thursday, two days after police shot dead five protesting farmers, but Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's attempt to meet the deceased farmers' kin raised political temperature in the state.
He was arrested along with several other leaders including Digvijaya Singh, Sachin Pilot, Kamal Nath and JD(U) MP Sharad Yadav when they entered the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh but were later released on personal bonds. The Congress leader then met some farmers and expressed solidarity with them.
After being prevented from entering violence-hit Mandsaur, Rahul accused the Narendra Modi government of favouring the rich and giving farmers 'only bullets'.
“Narendra Modi can waive loans of the country's rich but can't do so for farmers,” he said, adding that ‘but they can't give right rates to the farmers, they cannot give compensation, or bonus, they can give only bullets to the farmers’.
“They detained me in Uttar Pradesh, they are detaining me here,” the Congress, who was accompanied by senior party leaders including Digvijaya Singh, Sachin Pilot and Kamal Nath, said.
Asked who was responsible for the killing of farmers, Rahul replied, “Narendra Modi and Chief Minister (Shivraj Singh Chauhan).”
Speaking to farmers here, Rahul promised to raise the issue in the Parliament in the Monsoon Session.
“I am with you. Will stand by you. Call me whenever you want, I will come to help you....will raise this issue,” he said.
Rahul entered Madhya Pradesh by car from Rajasthan and switched over to a bike in a bid to reach Mandsaur after seeing police deployment. But he could not go too far. Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh as well as Sharad Yadav were also stopped from meeting the families of the dead farmers.
When they reached Neemuch near Mandsaur, Kamal Nath demanded to know why they were being stopped as they were only three in number and so not violating the prohibitory orders.
"This government is acting foolishly. Shivraj Singh Chouhan must resign," Digvijaya said.
He said that the Congress and JD(U) leaders didn't go to Mandsaur to ignite passions.
"We have come here to ease the tension. We have come to talk to the farmers," he said.
Digvijaya noted that the Chief Minister had promised farmers 1.5 times return on the yield of crops. "Why hasn't he implemented his own promise?" he questioned.
Situation in Mandsaur improving but tense
Anti-riot paramilitary forces moved into violence-hit areas, but the situation appeared to be improving in the troubled regions where farmers have been protesting for over a week demanding debt relief.
As contingents of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) fanned out into the district, the state government shunted out Mandsaur collector Swatantra Singh and Superintendent of Police OP Tripathi.
Curfew, imposed yesterday after escalating violence, was relaxed for two hours from 4 pm, as officials said the situation appeared to be improving. The police, however, said some areas were still tense.
Farmers in Mandsaur have been protesting since June 1 demanding loan waiver and better crop prices. Five farmers were killed in police firing on Tuesday as the agitation turned violent.
The government has brought in Manoj Kumar Singh from Neemuch as the new SP of Mandsaur. The collector of Shivpuri, OP Srivastava, who took charge of the district, said he faced a challenging situation.
Divisional Commissioner MB Ojha said, "For the last two to three days, farmers were stopping vehicles and setting them on fire."
Police said seven cases were lodged and 62 people detained in connection with the violence. Burnt vehicles were removed from the Mhow-Neemuch highway today, and traffic had resumed.
They said that investigations have found that "stone throwers and some anti-social elements" had also joined the protest. Violence had also hit Dewas, Neemuch, Ujjain districts and some other parts of western MP.
While two companies of the RAF, each comprising 100 personnel, moved into Pipliamandi in Mandsaur, where the five farmers were killed, another two were posted in Garoth. Two RAF companies have also been deployed along the highway. Besides the RAF, contingents of the CRPF have been deployed.
MP Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said that the five farmers had been killed in police firing, a remark that assumes significance as the authorities had earlier claimed the police did not fire during the protests at Pipliamandi.
Outgoing Superintendent of Police Tripathi earlier told reporters some people had been detained for heckling the previous Mandsaur Collector S K Singh in the Berheda Pant area yesterday.
He said that Pipliamandi Town Inspector Anil Singh Thakur, who had allegedly fired at the farmers causing casualties, had been removed from field duty and sent to the Mandsaur police lines.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh had sought to cool tempers by announcing certain measures, including a settlement scheme for cultivators who had defaulted on repayment of loans. The scheme will cover around 6 lakh farmers with accumulated dues of Rs 6,000 crore, according to the state government.
Rahul's conduct irresponsible: BJP
The BJP accused the Congress of instigating the violence and said Rahul's conduct was irresponsible.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Modi government would not do anything that breaks the faith of farmers and the common man.
"There is information that some people were involved in instigating violence," he said.
Chief Minister Chouhan urged the farmers to maintain peace and vowed to resolve the crisis through talks.
He said that anti-social elements trying to inject instability would be dealt with strictly.
- Rahul Gandhi, along with around 250 Congress leaders released: SP (Neemuch) Manoj Kumar Singh
- Rahul has been allowed by the administration to meet the families of farmers killed in Mandsaur.
After a long struggle, the administration has finally agreed to allow Rahul Gandhi to meet the families of those who were killed in police firing. We will try and meet them near the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border, says former Congress MP Meenakshi Natarajan
- Curfew was relaxed for two hours in violence-hit Mandsaur and Pipliamandi areas of the district in view of the improvement in the situation. Collector OP Srivastava said a decision to relax the curfew for two hours from 4 pm to 6 pm was taken as the situation is now under control.
- Curfew to be relaxed for women and children from 4 pm to 6 pm in Mandsaur: SDM Mandsaur NS Rajawat
- Always ready to resolve issues by talks & discussions. Anti social elements trying to bring instability will be strictly dealt with: MP CM Shivraj
- He (Rahul Gandhi) has been detained. What was the emergency to go there now? He only wants to do politics: MP HM Bhupendra Singh
- Narendra Modi has forgiven the debt of India’s richest, but he couldn’t forgive the farmers’ debt. He could only give them the bullet, says Rahul Gandhi.
- "If your thought does not meet that of the RSS, you cannot enter Madhya Pradesh," Rahul Gandhi tells reporters after being detained.
- Rahul Gandhi taken into preventive detention by police on his way to Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh.
- "What law of the land says that it is illegal to stand in solidarity with farmers who were killed simply for demanding what is their right?" tweets Rahul Gandhi
- Rahul gandhi tries to jump barricade and enter Mandsaur district, police team intercepts him. Heated argument between Congress leaders and local administration.
- “Raj & MP Govts are doing their best to prevent me from entering MP & meeting the families of the #farmers killed in #Mandsaur,” tweets Rahul Gandhi
- Police seal all borders to Mandsaur, say won’t let Rahul Gandhi enter district