On June 6th, in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh (MP) police opened fire on farmers who were demanding loan waiver and better prices for their produce. Six farmers were killed and many others were grievously injured. The Madhya Pradesh incident comes just after Maharashtra peasants’ call for a state-wide bandh on June 5th.
Opposition parties have condemned police’s actions and MP government’s absolute neglect of the crisis farmers’ are facing. Chief Minister of MP, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, reportedly, believes that ‘anti-social elements’ have entered the movement.
CPI (M) issued the following statement - “The Polit Bureau of the CPI (M) strongly condemns the brutal killing of three Kisans in police firing in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh. The police action has also rendered a large number of Kisans grievously injured. The Kisans in Madhya Pradesh have been agitating peacefully for many days demanding that the state government implement the promises that have been made to provide greater remuneration to the Kisans as well as debt relief.” The complete statement can be read here.
Congress Vice-President, Rahul Gandhi, who went to meet with the farmers on 7th June was denied entrance to Mandsaur. He described the the firing on farmers as ‘the government is at war with farmers’. JDU’s Sharad Yadav tweeted “I highly condemn d attack on farmers by security forces in #Mandsaur in M.P & convey my heartfelt condolences to d bereaved families.”
After the incident, internet services in Mandsaur were suspended. Something what happens regularly in Kashmir. Is this now the go to strategy of governments’ to “handle” people on agitations? CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted, "Is firing the only response to all protests in the BJP regime? Plus Internet shutdowns and clampdown on information?"
Even today, 7th June, the protest is on and is spreading to other districts. In Bhopal, farmers threw their produce on streets. At Berkheda Panth, Mandsaur relatives of farmers killed in police firing and other villagers blocked road demanding CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s visit.
Maharashtra farmers have extended their support to the MP farmers’ protest.
While the media gave wide coverage to the firing incident – it continued to neglect the real issue - the failure of the central and state governments, in addressing the agrarian crisis. Across the country there was a spike of 42% in farmer’s suicides in 2015. BJP-led NDA ruled states account for most of these suicides.
Modi government is claiming to promote business by ‘ease of doing business’ vision, but is there no clear vision to improve the lives of those that feed the nation. Is the growing agrarian crisis, even on the agenda of the government? It sure doesn’t seem like it.