A day after local police were pelted with stones and some vehicles were torched allegedly by agitating farmers in Bijalpur area here, the administration today said it suspects involvement of “anti-social elements” in the incident in which two police personnel were injured. As violence broke out last night, police cane-charged a group of people, believed to be protesting farmers, who were forcefully blocking the road in Bijalpur adjacent to the local fruit vegetable market. DIG Harinarayanchari Mishra had said two policemen were injured in stone-pelting by farmers.
“Protesting farmers were stopping the vehicles in Bijalpur area. When police cane charged them, they started hurling stones at police personnel and vehicles passing from the road. They also set some vehicles on fire,” Mishra said, adding that the situation came under control after police fired tear gas shells at the mob.
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However, district collector P Narhari today told PTI the people involved in the last night’s incident were not farmers. Farmers, especially in western part of the state, launched the 11-day stir on June 1 demanding implementation of 20-odd demands raised by them, including fixing of minimum support price (MSP) of vegetables like potatoes, onions etc.
They have been trying to disrupt the supply of milk, fruits and vegetables to various cities. The district collector said the situation in Bijalpur is under control now with the deployment of additional police force. “We have the information that those involved in yesterday’s incident were some trouble-makers and anti-social elements and not the protesting farmers. We will file criminal cases against such people and deal with them strictly,” Narhari added.
Meanwhile, the leader of agitating farmers and Kisan Sena secretary Jagdish Rawalia has condemned the violence, alleging that some “trouble-makers” who wanted to discredit farmers and their agitation were involved in last night’s violence. Besides fixing of the MSP of vegetables, the agitators have demanded the purchase of agricultural produce should not be allowed below the stipulated MSP at APMCs. They also want the state government to waive agricultural loans and keep the rising prices of farm equipment and machinery in check.