In an interview with the The Indian Express, Balwan Singh Ghosh, a 45-year-old farmer from Madhya Pradesh, has recounted his ordeal at the Tikamgarh Dehat Thana, where he was allegedly and stripped and beaten on Tuesday.
Ghosh told the newspaper that he joined the Congress Party-backed protest in order to highlight problems like lack of electricity and water for irrigation that were taking a toll on his annual crop yield.
"After the failure of my crops, I thought I would get some relief. But instead, I was beaten by policemen. Then, at the station, I told them, 'Please don't make me strip, my underwear has a hole'. They said, 'Go naked','' Ghosh told the newspaper.
In a horrific incident in Madhya Pradesh, dozens of farmers who joined the protest on Tuesday were stripped and beaten at the local police station. The alleged incident occurred four months after five farmers were killed in police firing during an agitation in the Mandsaur district of MP.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in MP had initially denied that farmers were beaten up police personnel, earlier this week. But after photos of farmers sitting in their underwear at the police station first appeared in the media and then on social media, the government was forced to set up an inquiry.
"The Director General of Police has been asked to institute an inquiry and submit a report within three days," State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said on Thursday. "It is a matter of investigation if the farmers took off their clothes themselves or police did so," he said.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has today issued notice to the MP government, demanding a report from the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP) in four weeks.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders have countered that the entire episode has been orchestrated by the Congress Party to show the BJP in a bad light.
Speaking to The Indian Express, five farmers who participated in the protest said they were not concerned with political activism but rather their dwindling produce.
Amol Singh Ghosh, a marginal farmer who feeds a joint family of eleven, said, "What proof do they need? Don't our injuries speak of our suffering? Do we look like farmers or Congress activists?"
Roshan Singh Bundela, principal of the B.Ed College in Tikamgarh, told the newspaper, "The farmers were made to sit in two stuffy rooms inside the rural station. Each one of them was beaten."
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