Farmers in Madhya Pradesh step up strike after six die in firing

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh step up strike after six die in firing

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh have been protesting for several weeks, demanding better prices for crops and waivers from the state government for repayment of farm loans. A curfew has been imposed in Mandausar and surrounding areas including Pipla Mandi that were epicentres of the protest.

Yesterday, five persons were killed in violence in Mandsaur district during the stir, following which curfew was imposed in Pipalya Mandi police station area and section 144 of CrPC in rest of the district.

The Congress today alleged that on an average almost 35 farmers committed suicide every day in the country ever since Narendra Modi became the prime minister.

"There was no firing by the police", he said while talking to NDTV, adding that an investigation has been launched.

He also said that Gandhi and his party, which were in power for so long, were responsible for the poor condition of farmers in the country.

Reports on happened before the firing also differ between agencies. "In the other incident, the police fired when there was firing from the mob", home minister Bhupendra Singh said.

Officials in Bhopal said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was keeping Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed about the situation.

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Senior Congress party leader and former union minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday accused the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh of committing an injustice against farmers, and demanded an immediate probe of the violence in the state's Mandsaur district.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi has asked Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to resign because of his inability to contain the violence.

Farmers in large numbers blocked a road in Berkheda Panth area, around 18 kms from Mandsaur on Wednesday.

Madhya Pradesh is one of several states that have suffered dismal rains and crop failures in recent years. Farmers are likely to observe the strike from June 1 to June 10, pressing their demands on the government.

Fresh produce prices have more than doubled in cities such as India's financial centre of Mumbai, which is the capital of Maharashtra, forcing authorities to provide police protection for vehicles carrying milk and vegetables. He said additional police force has been called to assist the law-enforcers. Government has announced ex-gratia to victim farmers. While the farmers' union had postponed the strike, some other organisations carried on the strike.

The state Congress and the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh have given a call for bandh today across the state to protest the farmers' death.

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