Farmers led by a former RSS leader outfit Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh today blocked roads in various parts of the state to protest against the death of five peasants in recent police firing in Mandsaur. The farmers resorted to blocking roads as part of a bandh they called days after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan called off his fast announcing restoration of peace in the state-wide peasants’ stir. RKMS national president Shiv Kumar Sharma, popularly known as “Kakkaji,” was arrested along with seven other farmer leaders when he was going to block the Jabalpur-Jaipur national highway near Misrod area on the outskirts of the state capital, the police said.
“We arrested eight persons, including Kakkaji, when they were going to block the national highway,” Misrod Sub Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) Atik Ahmad Khan told PTI. In Indore, twenty protesters, including farmers and members of some Leftist parties, were arrested under section 151 of the CrPC when they were trying to stop traffic on Link Road at Teen Imli round-about, Azad Nagar police station in-charge Kanhaiyalal Dangi said. RKMS’ state unit vice president Trilok Gothi said the outfit had given the call for a nation-wide bandh today to protest against the Mandsaur incident.
“We want the Centre and state governments to waive loans of farmers. We want satisfactory remuneration for farm produce of farmers,” he said, adding that implementation of Swaminathan Commission’s report is also a prominent demand of farmers. As per reports, road blockade protests were held in various parts of the state. “We staged our protests at Indore, Rewa, Rajgarh, Jabalpur, Sehore, Dhar, Dewas, Hoshangabad, Neemuch, Ratlam, Shajapur and others districts,” Gothi said.
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A group of farmers had torched tyres at an agriculture market in Narsinghpur yesterday after finding no takers for their produce. Farmers in Madhya Pradesh launched a stir on June 1 for various demands, including better remuneration for farming produce and a loan waiver. The agitation took a violent turn on June 6 when police opened fire on protesters in Mandsaur, the ground zero of the agitation, killing five farmers. Besides, a 26-year-old farmer had died in Badwan village of the district subsequently. The locals had alleged that he was beaten up by the police.
To placate the agriculturists, state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan announced a series of measures on June 11, before ending his 28-hour long fast. One of the major declarations made was that the purchase of any farm produce below the minimum support price (MSP) would be considered a criminal act. “Any purchase of farm produce below the MSP, declared by the Centre, would be considered a criminal act in Madhya Pradesh,” he had said.
Chouhan announced that the state government would establish ‘Kisan Bazaar’ (farmers’ market) within the area under all municipal bodies. “We will also adopt a system of Amul Dairy Cooperatives to purchase milk in the state,” he had said. The state government had announced setting up a Rs 1,000 -crore Price Stabilisation Fund to purchase farm produce at the MSP and Agricultural Costs and Marketing Commission to ensure better prices for farm produce vis-a-vis cost of crops.