Farmer Protests Spread Across Madhya Pradesh, Centre Rushes Forces
Rioting and arson was reported in several districts of Madhya Pradesh a day after six farmers died in police firing in Mandsaur.
A heavy police force, CRPF and RAF personnel remained posted at the spot in Mandsaur. (Image: TV Grab)
Bhopal: Rioting and arson was reported in several districts of Madhya Pradesh a day after six farmers died in police firing in Mandsaur. Mobs set banks, buses, petrol pumps and police vehicles and chowkis on fire, disrupted rail and road traffic, and heckled senior state officers.
Several videos of bus passengers terrified by violent mobs and charred public vehicles did rounds of social media giving a glimpse of the battleground that the state has become. In many instances passengers were seen to be running away from their buses as rioters attacked buses and set them on fire. While police officials claimed the situation to be under control, the ground reality was anything but that.
Violence was reported from Ujjain, Dewas, Mandsaur, Neemuch, Sehore and Piplia Mandi. In Neemuch and districts around it, police force fired teargas shells to prevent locals from setting a police station ablaze.
Many of these districts have been placed under curfew. Internet connectivity has also been suspended in these areas.
By late afternoon, Centre decided to rush 1100 riot control personnel to Mandsaur. And Madhya Pradesh home ministry wrote to the Union home ministry, asking for additional forces in Neemuch, Mandsaur, Dewas and Ujjain also. Police officials have fortified the state capital, Bhopal, to prevent the rioters from entering the city.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting which was attended by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley and road transport minister Nitin Gadkari.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made overtures to people through Twitter. "I am a farmer and understand your problems. You can be assured your government will implement all things," Chouhan said while appealing for peace.
Meanwhile, the state government deployed Cabinet minister Archana Chitnis to firefight the situation. Claiming that the state government had done a lot for farmers, she said, "MP government has already started procuring onions at Rs 8 per kg. Around 4,500 quintals have been procured across the state. MP government will provide support price for moong and tur... Farmers will now be provided 50 per cent cash and the rest through RTGS when they sell their produce at the 'krishi mandis'."
While Congress leaders blamed the BJP for the ongoing stir, BJP retaliated by claiming that the violence was handiwork some Congressmen.
"Farmers fighting for their rights have died and the government is blaming the opposition. What can be more shameful than this," tweeted senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Senior BJP member Kailash Vijayavargiya hit back by said, "This is a Congress conspiracy. They are fuelling violence. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has focussed on agriculture."
"We will release the videos how congress leaders are instigating the farmers," Vijayavargiya added.
Meanwhile, the state Human Rights Commission announced that it had taken cognizance of the farmers' deaths, and sought explanation from senior officers on the incident.
In the middle of all this milk and vegetable supplies have been severely affected in cities like Indore and Ujjain.
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