Farmers' strike highlights: Maharashtra govt announces loan waiver to farmers; Madhya Pradesh CM Chouhan ends fast

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Farmers' strike highlights: Maharashtra govt announces loan waiver to farmers; Madhya Pradesh CM Chouhan ends fast
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    21:07 (IST)

    Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh says state govt has chalked out plan to double farmers' income

    Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said his government has chalked out an action plan to double the income of farmers in the state. "The state government has set the target of distributing interest-free loans worth nearly Rs 3,200 crore to farmers of state in this Kharif season," he said. Read more here

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    20:45 (IST)

    Farmers in Rajasthan observe bandh in solidarity with Madhya Pradesh protesters 

    Farmers restricted milk, grain and vegetable supply in several districts of Rajasthan on Sunday in support of a 'bandh' call given by the 'Kisan Mahapanchayat' to express support for their counterparts in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. The Rajasthan farmers also pressed on with their demands for better remuneration for their produce with the state authorities. Read more here

  • 20:37 (IST)

    Sainath throws light on women farmers, who are often excluded from farmers issues 

    “A large numbers of women farmers have committed suicides, but are registered as women's suicides,” P Sainath mentions, adding that over 60% of the agriculture in India is done by women but their names don't come on to the broadcast. He states that this compromises the data related to farmer suicides. He adds that “'Load on women farmer has grown exponentially, and we refuse to acknowledge her as a farmer.” 

  • 20:27 (IST)

    Sainath discusses how water issues aggravated the farmers’ crisis

    “Who gets to control water? If you privatise it, you're dead,” Sainath puts it bluntly. Regarding the droughts that the nation has faced in the past two years, the journalist said that the government and the media blames lack of rain, but in fact it is ground water depletion that is culminating to a water crisis. He also highlighted the inequality of usage in rural and urban area. Some other alarming facts that he mentioned were that poor women pay 45 paise per litre of water, while factories get water at 4 paise. Similarly, alcohol and beer factories get 4 paise per litre water while poor citizens have to pay much more for water from tankers. 

  • 20:19 (IST)

    The Wire speaks to the family members of Ghanshyam, a farmer who was killed in the Mandsaur protests. 

  • 20:07 (IST)

    Desi breeds have been declining quite sharply in last 10, 20 years: P Sainath

  • 20:06 (IST)

    New cattle rules are hitting lower castes, small farmers, landless and religious minorities: P Sainath

  • 20:05 (IST)

    Desi breeds of cattle will be lost over time because of cow slaughter ban: P Sainath

  • 19:53 (IST)

    Govt should hold special Parliamentary session to solve agrarian crisis: P Sainath

    "I have been making appeals on how we need a special 10-day Parliamentary session just devoted to the agrarian crisis, to debate the study of Swaminathan Commission report, and to give one day to listen to testimonies from farmers and widows of those who have committed suicides. Input cost, the price of milk and other things could be clearly discussed during such a session," he said.

  • 19:50 (IST)

    Farm loans between Rs 1-10 crore has gone up: P Sainath

  • 19:48 (IST)

    The excuse that GM will increase productivity is nonsense | P Sainath

  • 19:45 (IST)

    No chance in farm policy between BJP UPA: P Sainath

    According to P Sainath, there has not been any gigantic difference between the UPA and BJP in terms of farm policy. 

    "A farmer is not just a farmer, he or she is a family person with medical costs. Rising medical costs is an important cause of family deaths in rural areas. Apart from not earning as much as production costs, this is another problem they have to deal with," he says.

  • 19:35 (IST)

    Hardik Patel may leave for Mandsaur on 13 June

    PTI reports that Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel is likely to leave for Mandsaur, the epicentre of the farmers' stir in Madhya Pradesh, with his supporters on Tuesday. Gehrilal Dangi, district president of Patel Navnirman Sena said that whether the administration allows it is uncertain. He added that the Patidar community in Gujarat and Rajasthan stands in support of the Madhya Pradesh farmers.

  • 19:33 (IST)

    Sainath discusses oversight in loan waiver

    Regarding loan waivers, Sainath discussed a crucial oversight that hasn’t been addressed by the Centre or the State governments, “The bulk of farmer debt is private debt from money-lenders, not bank debts which are waived.” He also added that farmer organisations realised this in 2008 when loan waiver which benefitted only benefitted Western Maharashtra.

  • 19:23 (IST)

    Sainath attacks politicisation of agricultural issues

    Sainath attacks the politicisation of agricultural issues, “Every government - not BJP, no INC. Every government has allowed corporations to run amok.” He also questions the media, mentioning that some newspapers carried Modi's agricultural achievement on the same day that they carried news about the killing of farmers. “The agrarian crisis is much larger than farmers suicide,” Sainath says emphatically. 

    He also speaks of how crop prices are increasing while germination rate is getting lowered. “Minimum germination rate of seeds has been lowered from 80% earlier to 60% now to favour corporations,” Sainath states. 

    Sainath also suggests that a 10 day special session is required in the Parliament to discuss medical, education input costs for farmers.

  • 19:17 (IST)

    P Sainath on the overarching agricultural crisis that triggered farmers' protests across India  

    “Loan waivers are a tool, they are not a transformation. They are a mechanism, a relief, not an answer,” Sainath begins in his live stream about the farmer crisis in India. “Do not try understanding farm crisis through episodic situations which are manifestations of the crisis,” Sainath states as he explains that the protest in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh were manifestations of the overarching agricultural crisis, and not the crisis itself. “Try understanding the farm crisis through the lives of farmers, agricultural labourers, lives dependent on farming,” he adds. 

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    19:12 (IST)

    How overconfident BJP failed to see farmers' discontent, mishandled agitation

    Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan calls himself ‘Kisan Putr’ (farmer’s son). In rallies after rallies, he repeats it and says that farmers' pain is his pain. But for days, when farmers were protesting across the state, his government remained in denial. The farmers were agitating, throwing agricultural produce on the roads and confronting the police.

    And yet Chouhan, the astute politician, who is believed to have his hand on the pulse of the people, couldn't fathom the extent of farmers’ anger. Read more here

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    18:55 (IST)

    Congress demands the central government to formulate a national policy on farm loans

    Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara said that if there was a national policy on farm loans, all states which now have different policies, would follow it. There would be uniformity in approach by both central and state governments when they waive such loans, he added. "We in Karnataka are committed to address farmers issues. Central government should formulate a national policy in this regard so that state's also follow it. I demand a national policy on these kinds of issues," Parameshwara said. He reiterated Karnataka's demand that the Centre first waive loans availed by farmers through nationalised banks, adding that such loans attained through state-run cooperative banks were very small compared to nationalised banks. Read more here

  • 18:34 (IST)

    Shivraj Singh Chouhan's comments after breaking his fast

    Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ended his indefinite fast, which he launched on Saturday in Bhopal, for the "restoration of peace in his state rocked by agitation of farmers and violence". He broke his fast at Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal. "People whose property & vehicles have been charred & vandalised will be provided with compensation," the chief minister said at the event. Former chief minister Kailash Joshi offered Chouhan coconut water to help him break his two-day-old fast. "I will not let MP be inflicted with violence at any cost. Madhya Pradesh is the epitome of peace, it will always be so...The violence in Mandsaur will be investigated thoroughly & people involved in it will be punished," he added. He also stated that the government will try to provide loans at 0 percent interest rate to farmers who cannot pay interests. Regarding MSP, Chouhan said, "Agricultural products at less than the minimum support price will be treated as a crime."  

  • 18:20 (IST)

    Former Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain cites poor returns as reason for distress among farmers 

    "Farmers are not getting fair/remunerative prices for their farm produce, especially pulses, as prices have come down. They want higher MSP (Minimum Support Price). At present, only paddy, wheat and sugarcane get the right MSP. The government should bring reforms in the markets," Hussain said to IANS.

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    18:07 (IST)

    Maharashtra govt to provide relief to around 31 lakh farmers through loan waiver

    The Maharashtra government announced loan waiver to farmers with less than five acres of land. This decision was reportedly taken on Sunday at a marathon four-hour meeting at Sahyadri Guest House in Mumbai. This decision will provide relief to around 31 lakh farmers, according to a source. The farmers will be eligible for new loans from 12 June, the source added. Read more about the loan waiver here

  • 17:58 (IST)

    Reports of possible farmer protests in Uttar Pradesh 

    National president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Harpal group) told PTI that his organisation would be launching a sit-in in Gonda block in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. Three main demands pertain to issue of land dispute with Haryana, procurement price for potato and also arrest of those policemen responsible for killing farmers in police firing in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. He warned that if these issues are not resolved then the BKU would start a "Jail Bharo" agitation. The dispute with Haryana started more than a decade back in Tappal Tehsil when the river Yamuna, which is the boundary between the two states, changed its course.

  • 17:50 (IST)

    RSS-affiliated BKS blame farmers' strike on central policies

    "Farmers were not the Central government's priority", Bharatiya Kisan Sangh National Secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra said to PTI, stating that they are given higher prices for crops and farm produce. "The Centre is more concerned about consumers and rising prices of food items than farmers. They are not a priority for the government," Mishra added.

  • 17:40 (IST)

    Farmers' organisation Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana says that if the Maharashtra government fails to meet their demands, they will resume protests from 25 July

  • 17:37 (IST)

    Medha Patkar and Yogendra Yadav speak up following detention 

    "We wanted to meet the families of deceased farmers peacefully and honour them by giving them a letter and soil brought from different parts of the country but we were not allowed to go," Yogendra Yadav said to PTI. He added that the government should waive farmers' loans, and they should get the right price for their agricultural produce. He also demanded a probe into the death of the six people who have died during the farmers' agitation so far.

    Medha Patkar said that, "We are being told that if we go to Mandsaur, peace may get disturbed. We are unable to understand how it will affect the peace…We are not going there for any protest or demonstration, we just wanted to meet the deceased farmers' family," she said.

  • 17:29 (IST)

    Sachin Pilot announces that Congress will have state-wide demonstrations in Rajasthan

  • 17:21 (IST)

    Maharashtra government announces loan waiver; farmer leaders decide to call off protests on Monday

    The Maharashtra state government made the announcement following talks with striking farmers' on Sunday. This news arrives two after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis set up a six-member Special Group of Ministers group to tackle farmers' protest demands. 

  • 17:14 (IST)

    Agricultural expert Devinder Sharma states impoverishment of agriculture industry triggered protests

    Devinder Sharma opined to IANS that the government did not want to provide more income to farmers since it was not in tune with its economic reform policies. "Over the years, the government has deliberately impoverished the agriculture sector. Our economic policymakers are pushing people in agriculture to cities to get cheaper labour for industrial infrastructure and to keep food prices low so inflation does not increase," Sharma contended. "Indian agriculture is not in tune with the economic reforms. More agricultural income means economic revival of farmers. That is what the government does not want. They want people to move out of agriculture," he added. 

  • 17:05 (IST)

    P Sainath speaks about farmers’ protests 

    “From farmers being shot dead in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, to those across Maharashtra now out on the streets in protest, to those from Tamil Nadu on hunger strike in New Delhi not so long ago, this has been a season of agrarian discontent. Why is this happening, which way will it go?,” P Sainath discuss the developments in the agriculture sector across India.

  • 16:46 (IST)

    Yogendra Yadav on his police detention

    "We have been detained by police at Ratlam Mandsaur border. Not served any orders. There is no curfew. We were ready to comply with 144. Yet," Yogendra Yadav tweeted about his detention. Along with Yadav, Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh, Paras Saklecha, Dr Sunilam, Avik Saha and JNUSU President Mohit Kumar Pandey were also detained. 

  • Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar and Swami Agnivesh detained in Ratlam

    A senior police official told Firstpost that in this volatile situation the administration can't allow any kind of politicking. He further added that Yogendra Yadav's political outfit Swaraj India circulated a message on social media on 6 June that 10 farmers got killed in police firing at Mandsaur. "It is completely wrong. This kind of rumours adds fuel to fire, " the official remarked at the spot.

  • Police stops Yogendra Yadav, Swami Agnivesh and Medha Patkar from entering Mandsaur 

    Just now police have stopped Yogendra Yadav, Swami Agnivesh, Medha Patkar and other activists at Ghogra which is on the Ratlam-Mandsaur border from entering Mandsaur. They were coming after holding a press conference at Ratlam. Yogendra Yadav and others were supposed me the farmers and families of deceased. Mandsaur police said that considering the law & order situation in Mandsaur, which continues to be volatile, they can't be allowed right now.

  • 16:21 (IST)

    Shivraj Singh Chouhan ends 'indefinite' fast

    Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday ended his indefinite fast, which he launched on Saturday in Bhopal for restoration of peace in his state rocked by agitation of farmers and violence.

    Former Chief Minister Kailash Joshi offered Chouhan coconut water to help him break his two-day-old fast at the Dussehra Maidan. Chouhan started his fast on Saturday in the wake of violence that marred the farmers' protest strike from 1 June, launched to press their demand for a debt waiver and better prices for farm produce.

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    No hope on the horizon for families of youth killed in police firing

    Abhishek Patidar, 17, and Chain Ram Patidar, 23 — sons of small farmers from Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh — dreamt of different careers for themselves. While one aspired to be a doctor, the second wanted to join the army. But their lives were tragically cut short on 6 June, when bullets fired by the police shattered the dreams of the two youth and their families. The two, along with four others protesters, were killed in police firing. The rest, as they say, is history. Read the complete report here

  • 13:15 (IST)

    Curfew relaxed for 12 hours in Mandsaur

    Authorities have relaxed curfew in Mandsaur for 12 hours, from 8 am to 8 pm on Saturday, in view of the situation improving in the region following violent protests. The curfew, which was imposed after five people were killed in police firing during a farmers' protest on 6 June, was relaxed for 12 hours in five police station areas of the district. Internet services, however, remained suspended in the area. "If the situation remains normal, curfew will be withdrawn tomorrow (Sunday)," said district collector OP Srivastava said.

  • 13:12 (IST)

    Mandsaur wears a peaceful look again

    Mandsaur, the epicentre of the farmers' agitation in Madhya Pradesh, remained peaceful on Saturday, with markets reopening and locals stepping out to stock essentials such as vegetables and milk.

    — PTI

  • 12:15 (IST)

    Deeply pained by agitations: Chouhan

    "I'm deeply pained and anguished by the agitations. Urge farmers to discuss their problems with me in person," said Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan

  • 12:11 (IST)

    'I will eat no food till all protests end'

    "I will have only water from now till all violence ends. Till the protests are raging, I will not eat any solid food," said CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh, while launching his fast.

  • 12:09 (IST)

    Stop the violence, Shivraj Chouhan urges Madhya Pradesh's farmers

    "It's not correct to burn vehicles, vandalise police stations. Children are now throwing stones at the State. The police is to maintain your security, they are never going to assault the innocent people," said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, urging protesting farmers to shed violent means.

  • 11:58 (IST)

    Every farm in the state receives water, says Chouhan

  • 11:57 (IST)

    Interest loan rates reduces for MP farmers, says Chouhan

  • 11:48 (IST)

    Country cannot progress without its farmers, says Shivraj Singh Chouhan

    "Our ultimate aim is progress of the state. Since the formation of the state, we have been dependent on our farmers. The state or the country cannot progress without its farmers," says Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, while beginning his indefinite fast in Bhopal.

  • 11:46 (IST)

    Mandsaur violence 'horrific', Rahul Gandhi should visit immediately, says Congress

    Speaking with Times Now, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has described the incidents taking place in Mandsaur as "horrific". He said Rahul Gandhi is leader of the Congress party, and should be allowed to visit the area immediately.

  • 11:37 (IST)

    Chouhan will sit on a "fast for peace"

  • 11:33 (IST)

    Shivraj Chouhan begins fast to 'express solidarity'

    Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has reached Bhopal's Dussehra Maidan, where he will observe a hunger fast to express solidarity with protesting farmers.

  • 18:17 (IST)

    Chief minister invites farmers to talk to him and find a solution

  • 18:16 (IST)

    Congress leader Sachin Pilot slams BJP government, calls it a 'failure'

    "In Madhya Pradesh, farmers have been caned and fired upon but the government is not ready to talk to them and solve the issues... Farmers commit suicide, and the agriculture minister engages in Yoga, this government is a complete failure... Ministers forget their promises after coming to their posts," Pilot said.

    He said an atmosphere was being created whereby anybody who is opposed to the BJP is treated as an "anti-national" by the Central government.

  • 18:08 (IST)

    Farmers torch vehicles near Bhopal

  • 18:03 (IST)

    People have given the protest of farmers a very bad shape: Chouhan

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    18:01 (IST)

    Madhya Pradesh messed up handling the situation in Mandsaur

    First, it could’ve been vigilant and heeded the simmering discontent over farm loan waivers. Second, the law enforcement agency could’ve moved in early and curtailed the said violent outbreak given its potential for unleashing the sort of political mischief that we’re now witnessing. Third, because the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government in Madhya Pradesh didn’t quite act with the requisite alacrity, it allowed the situation to spread to Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

    Read more here.

Five people were killed on Tuesday as the farmers' agitation turned violent in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh, prompting the authorities to clamp curfew in the trouble-hit area. Some eyewitnesses alleged that the victims suffered bullet wounds, but Mandsaur district authorities denied that police fired on the protesters, who were on a rampage.

While the Congress has called for statewide bandh today, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan blamed the opposition party for instigating the violence. Mandsaur collector S K Singh confirmed death of five persons and said a magisterial inquiry has been ordered. As tension prevailed, mobile internet service were suspended in Mandsaur, Ratlam and Neemuch districts since morning to check spread of rumours.

Singh also told PTI that police categorically told him that they did not fire at the protesters. The deceased were identified as Kanhaiyalal Patidar, Bablu Patidar, Chain Singh Patidar, Abhishek Patidar and Satynarayan. Abhishek and Satynarayan died en route to a hospital in Indore, police said.

Curfew has been imposed in Pipalya Mandi police station area of Mandsaur district where the incident took place, while prohibitory orders restricting movement under section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in rest of the district, the collector said.

"Police have told me that neither did they fire nor did they have any orders to fire," Singh added. In-camera autopsy of bodies was going on and the cause of death will be known after it, the collector said, adding that families of the deceased will get financial aid.

According to eyewitnesses, protesting farmers torched vehicles and indulged in stone pelting in Parshvanath area under Pipaliya Mandi police station limits of the district.

The CM announced a financial help of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased. "I request the farmers to be patient. Do not fall in the trap of anyone. The government stands with farmers. We will solve all problems through discussion," Chouhan tweeted while blaming Congress for the violence.

File image of a farmer protesting against the government in Nagpur. PTI

File image of a farmer protesting against the government in Nagpur. PTI

Farmers in western Madhya Pradesh are protesting since June one demanding higher minimum support prices (MSP) among others. In Ratlam, the district collector Ashok Bhargava imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC following the violence in neighbouring Mandsaur district.

Ratlam superintendent of police Amit Singh announced a reward of Rs 10,000 each for information about absconding farmer leaders D P Dhakad, Rajesh Bharava, Bhagwati Patidar (said to be Congress members) and others who were allegedly involved in violence in the district on Sunday in which two police personnel had been injured.

Meanwhile, the state Congress and the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh have given a call for bandh tomorrow across the state to protest the farmers' death in Mandsaur.

"We have called for a massive MP bandh tomorrow," state Congress chief Arun Yadav told PTI. The Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Ajay Singh, demanded resignation of Chouhan, saying the incident of firing in Mandsaur is shameful for a chief minister who claims to be a farmer's son.

"All the claims of the chief minister have proved false so far. Now the government is using bullets to suppress farmers' voice. Chouhan should resign immediately," the Congress leader said.

The main opposition party also constituted a committee of MLAs "to investigate" the Mandsaur firing incident. Singh and the state Congress chief would visit Mandsaur on Wednesday. Senior Congress leader and MP Jyotiraditya Scindia also condemned the incident. The BJP government dealt with the agitation through bullets instead of talks, he said.

"This is a black day in the history of the state. It is shameful that the state government is crushing farmers' agitation. Farmers' demands are genuine," Scindia added. Trouble was reported from many parts of western Madhya Pradesh as farmers' stir continued for the sixth day on Tuesday. In Indore, police used lathi charge following stone-pelting during a march by farmers.

A police officer said that people taking part in the march started throwing stones at the police near Devi Ahilyabai Fruits and Vegetable Market, which led to lathicharge. In Dhar, farmers blocked the Indore-Ahmedabad national highway for about three hours. Farmers also staged protests at Amjhera and Ghoda Chowpati in the city.

The shops in the local market remained closed all day in Neemuch city. Meanwhile, Mahendra Patidar, president of MP Patidar Samaj, said they would cremate the bodies of victims who died in Mandsaur district today only in the presence of the chief minister.

Updated Date: Jun 11, 2017 21:09 PM

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