Farmers From 30 States to Protest Outside Parliament After Pan-India Yatra
Former MLA Dr Sunilam, who is leading the yatra, drew parallels between the Multai farmer protests of 1998 in which 19 people were killed and the Mandsaur incident.
Dr Sunilam drew parallels between the Multai farmer protests of 1998 in which 19 people were killed and the Mandsaur incident. (Photo: News18)
Bhopal: Former MLA Dr Sunilam, widely known for his role in the farmers’ struggle of Multai (MP) in 1998, in which 19 farmers were killed in police firing, has said that farmers from 30 states will start a foot march from Mandsaur on July 6 that will culminate in a demonstration outside the Parliament amid the monsoon session.
The socialist politician, who was also part of the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement, was in the state capital for attending a programme. He said the protests would be launched by All India Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, which has members from 30 states. Their demands include a farm loan waiver and a law for Minimum Support Price for all the crops.
The farmers’ body would start a foot march from Mandsaur, at the site where six farmers were killed in police firing. They would protest at the parliament after covering various parts of the country.
Founded by him and his colleagues at Multai in the 90s, Kisan Samanvay Samiti, according to him, was the first farmers’ group in India which raised issues like farm loan waiver, electricity bill waiver and crop insurance to the fore in national politics. “I am glad farmers of the country are now standing united on loan waiver and for a law on MSP,” he said.
Drawing parallels between the infamous 1998 police firing in Multai in Betul, in which 19 farmers were killed (unofficial figure 24) and 150 were injured, and the Mandsaur police firing, the ex-legislator said nothing has changed in the last 19 years as government likes to swoop over protests with disdain rather than forging communication.
“All commissions, including the PC Agrawal Commission, constituted after Multai incident had endorsed this fact,” he said, adding that farmers who die in protest are called martyrs but the due facilities are never extended to their kin.
Dr Sunilam, who was slapped with 67 criminal cases by the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh in 1998, claimed that farmers were the most non-violent creatures on earth so they could not have instigated violence at the protest sites.
“At Multai, drunken people were used to pelt stones. Similarly, at various MP districts during agitation, BJP and police managed violence to derail the agitation,” he alleged.
“This time as well thousands of farmers are slapped with cases,” he added.
He said the state government’s handling of the protests after the Mandsaur incident shows the “decreasing democratic space” in MP. He said that in 1998, barring senior BJP leaders —Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani — people from across the country had reached Multai to join the protest but after Mandsaur incident, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia and others were not allowed to enter Mandsaur.
“CM Shivraj made sure no one went to Mandsaur unless he handed over the compensation cheques,” he said.
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