Centre rushes security forces to MP

Farmers' agitation: 1,100 anti-riot police deployed in Mandsaur

Centre rushes security forces to MP

A day after violence over farmers’ killing in Mandsaur spilled over to four other districts of Madhya Pradesh, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stepped in and sought a report from the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government on the steps taken to bring peace in the state.

The Ministry of Home Affairs dispatched 1,100 anti-riots police personnel to Mandsaur to help the state machinery control growing violence after five people were killed during a protest by farmers demanding debt relief and better crop prices.

Though Chouhan had agreed to some of their demands and announced compensation of Rs 1 crore and job to victims’ families, the flare up did not stop, with the BJP suspecting that the protest has been co-opted by anti-social elements.

Modi is said to have taken stock of the snowballing farmers’ protest in consultation with senior ministers — including Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari — after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.

Though the BJP leaders brazened out farmers’ protests in the states ruled by the party like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and certain pockets of Rajasthan and Gujarat, some party leaders admited that the situation was worrisome.

The party sources said Chouhan called BJP president Amit Shah to explain measures taken to soothe agitating farmers in his state.

For a chief minister who was known as “kisan mitra” (farmers’ friend), Chouhan’s inability to control the violence was questionable, said a party source.

However, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao does not believe that the chief minister can be pinned down over the farmers’ agitation. “There is a criminal-political-caste angle to the agitation and agricultural interest is the last thing,” Rao told DH.

The chief minister had met farmers after June 1 agitation and accepted their demand to increase price of onions, announced price stabilisation fund to meet such crisis apart from announcing compensation package for victims’ families, Rao said.

Rao said, under Chouhan, agriculture sector improved tremendously. The agriculture growth rate of 20% is much more than the national growth rate. Madhya Pradesh is number two among wheat-producing states and 40 lakh farmers have availed the crop insurance scheme, Rao said defending Chouhan.

The farmers’ protest crossed over to neighbouring BJP-ruled Rajasthan.  Farmers of Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan, which borders Mandsaur, in support of Madhya Pradesh farmers, said they would stop supplies of milk and vegetables for a day. They later withdrew their stir after assurances from the local administration, said a news agency.
DH News Service

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