Madhya Pradesh farmers protest: MP farmers’ protest turned ugly on Tuesday as six farmers were killed and eight others were injured in two separate incidents of firing in Mandsaur. The protest started on June 1 in which farmers are asking for sops over a wide-range of demands concerning their livelihood. Incidentally, both the states are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The situation in Mandsaur worsened on Wednesday morning with the district collector, who was trying to reach out to the protesters, was heckled by the farmers. With Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi set to visit the region, the drama is unlikely to end soon, especially as the BJP government has blamed the Congres party for the violence.
But, why are these farmers protesting? What exactly do they want and why is Mandsaur burning? Here are 5 reasons behind MP farmers’ protest:
1. In 2016, India received normal rainfall, just about three per cent less than the 100-year average. Official figures of the Ministry of Agriculture and farmers welfare said that India registered record food grain production in the same year. But despite that, farmers failed to make much profit and they are now demanding higher crop prices to cover their input costs.
2. This rainfall had come after two years of severe drought during which the farmers suffered massive losses. So, their second demand is to provide a farmer package to tide over the drought-caused losses.
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3. Apart from this, the farmers are also demanding that they should be given Rs 50 per litre of milk bought from them as they spend Rs 37 per litre on production costs. Responding to this, state chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said his government was taking all the necessary steps to address the issues and a price stabilisation fund of Rs 1,000 crore would be established to procure the farm produce at the minimum support price (MSP).
4. Government’s decision of demonetisation gave a serious jolt to these farmers as cash is the primary mode of transaction in the agriculture sector. They are now demanding that half their dues at mandis should be paid in cash and the remaining via electronic transfer to their bank accounts.
5. Another demand is to book the policemen who shot the farmers in Mandsaur. However, the district collector Swantra Singh told ANI that there was no order to open fire. “I have assured them (farmers) a strict action,” he added.
Meanwhile, in Ratlam, the district collector Ashok Bhargava imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC following the violence in neighbouring Mandsaur district which is 325 kilometres from state capital Bhopal. The Ratlam superintendent of police Amit Singh also announced a reward of Rs 10,000 each for information about absconding farmer leaders D P Dhakad, Rajesh Bharava, Bhagwati Patidar and others who were allegedly involved in violence in the district on Sunday in which two police personnel were injured, reported PTI.