Violence broke out today during a farmers' protest in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh in which five farmers were killed and several others injured.
According to a report by the IANS, the farmers who have been agitating for the last five days started pelting stones at the police. The latter retaliated by opening fire at the protesting farmers, killing five.
Mandsaur Collector, S.K. Singh said he did not have any information regarding the dead farmers but that a curfew had been clamped in the Pipalya Mandi police station area and section 144 of CrPC had been imposed in the rest of the district. Internet services were reportedly suspended in Mandsaur, Ratlam and Ujjain during the protest, reported PTI.
The Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Bhupendra Singh, not only denied the entire incident of the cops firing at the farmers but also added that no such curfew had been imposed in the area.
"There was no firing from police, will look into the farmer's death", is what he told ANI.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced the compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the kin of the deceased farmers and blamed the Congress party for a "conspiracy to fuel violence". Chouhan has also ordered a judicial enquiry into the matter.
The Samajwadi Party too has assured assistance of Rs 2 Lakh.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government over the incident and said that it seemed as if the Centre was at war with the country's farmers. He said in BJP's new India, farmers received bullets when they asked for their rights.
The farmers in Madhya Pradesh have been protesting since 1 June, demanding loan waivers, minimum support price (MSP) for their farm produce among other things.
On 4 June, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan held talks with the protesters and the next day, promised to take necessary steps to address their concerns. But, while two farmers' outfits called off their stir, other continued to protest.
The farmers' agitation has not exactly been peaceful. There have been reports of farmers staging road blockades and damaging vehicles that were transporting fruits and vegetables. Protesters forcing traders to close down shops during bandhs led to clashes. Markets across Madhya Pradesh have been facing a shortage of fruits, vegetables and milk due to the protest.
While two cops got injured in stone pelting on 5 June, a farmer leader claimed that the police used lathi-charge against peaceful protesters for no reason.
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