Farmers' unrest: MP cops probe to unravel 'real faces' behind stir, say farmers can't cause so much damage

After an initial intelligence failure which led to a large-scale rampage across several districts in Madhya Pradesh, including Mandsaur, the epicentre of farmers' agitation, the state police have started verifying evidences gathered from multiple sources to have water tight case against the perpetrators.

The police have informed Firstpost that they have zeroed in on a few 'faces' and most likely be soon cracking the alleged network that was involved in turning the farmers' agitation into a mob violence and rampage.

The focus of the investigation is to find the source of the farmers' agitation, which took an ugly turn last week — the perpetrators, their modus operandi, involvement of political, non-political and criminal groups, identifying faces behind the violence, role of social media that led to spreading of rumours and use of dirty money from narcotic smuggling. Another important aspect, police have been looking into is whether there had been any 'deep-rooted conspiracy' behind the violent agitation, and the faces involved.

The investigators believe that the massive destruction of public property to the tune of crores of rupees just couldn't be the act of farmers, especially from the Malwa belt, which otherwise is known as a peaceful place.

"Finding the real faces behind instigating this mob violence is the main area of our investigation. The real farmers who work on field can't do this kind of destruction and rampage on such a large scale, that too across various districts. No names or persons have been identified yet. It will be hard as well, because people came in large numbers. Many had their faces covered. However, we have few names that we plan to investigate. We've zeroed in on these faces and trying to verify the identities," a senior official, who's a part of the investigation, told Firstpost on condition of anonymity.

Key areas under investigation

The investigation team of Madhya Pradesh police have been trying to focus on the following key areas and verify the inputs they have received from multiple sources:

- Who are the faces behind the rampage and mob violence under the garb of farmer organisations?
- Whether political parties or groups were involved?
- What is the identity of the small groups, especially comprising young men, from age groups 18-25, and people behind them to instigate violence?
- Who supplied the lathis, petrol, etc to these groups and mobilised them?
- Whether opium smugglers were involved?
- Whether there were anti-social elements involved?
- Whether dirty money from narcotics used in instigating violence?
- Was there a 'deep-rooted conspiracy' that took advantage of the outburst of farmers' anger against the establishment?
- Whether social media and cyber techniques were used to fuel the agitation?
- Whose bullets killed the five farmers?

"They were mostly young people in the age group of 18-25 years involved in stone pelting and rampaging. We have got lots of inputs from various sources and we are trying to verify them. We are also trying to find out who gave incentives and money to these groups to create violence, burn vehicles in large numbers and de-stabilise the entire system," the official said.

Congress workers in Jabalpur burn effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan against the killing of farmers spill milk down the road on Sunday. PTI

Congress workers in Jabalpur burn effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan against the killing of farmers spill milk down the road on Sunday. PTI

As per inputs available with the police, large number of group messages and photos through SMS and WhatsApp were circulated to fuel the agitation until the administration blocked internet services in Mandsaur, Ratlam, Neemuch, Ujjain and Shajapur.

"Once the internet services are restored, we will probe whether cyber techniques were used to circulate messages and photos. We're matching call details. We've already got some important links and inputs," the official said. As Mandsaur and Neemuch fall under the opium belt, and are known for narcotics smuggling, the investigators will also probe involvement of opium/narcotic smugglers in the violence.

According to police sources, of the five farmers who were killed during firing, one Kanhaiyalal had allegedly been involved in opium smuggling. "Kanhaiyalal who got killed in the firing had five NDPS cases against him related to smuggling of opium and heroin. He was out on bail in one such case. We're investigating involvement of narcotic smugglers and use of dirty money. Usually smugglers and criminals wait for such opportunities during mob and communal violence. But we need solid evidence," the senior official said.

The police do not want to rule out the involvement of 'Kanjars' (a nomadic group from Rajasthan) in burning buses and trucks and looting passengers at Sonkatch (between Bhopal and Indore) and around Mandsaur. "Kanjars have been active in these areas and are involved in criminal activities. We've inputs on this as well," a police source said.

The police have ruled out involvement of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) activists in the violence. "Though Ujjain district (close to Mandsaur) has been a hotspot of SIMI activities and Ujjain has also been hit by this agitation, there is no involvement of SIMI activists in this case," an investigating officer told Firstpost.

However, the investigators are tight-lipped over the involvement of political parties and it's leaders or any political conspiracy. "No, I can't say whether any political party was involved or not. Investigation is going on," Superintendent of Police, Mandsaur, Manoj Kumar Singh told Firstpost.

Echoing a similar reaction, the senior investigating officer remarked, "It's too early to comment. It's not necessary that the Congress or the BJP was involved. But any person involved in the violence may be associated with a party and for that entire party can't be blamed. Similarly, the youngsters involved in the rampage could be the sons or family members of farmers, and they are named as farmers."

Besides, the investigators are also trying to identify faces behind the bullets that killed five farmers. Finally, MP government has officially admitted that five farmers were killed due to police firing.

"Now it's clear that police had only fired. We've got the post mortem report and waiting for the ballistic and other reports. After matching these reports, we can come to a final conclusion," the official added.

Updated Date: Jun 12, 2017 08:08 AM

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