On the anniversary of the deaths of protesting farmers in Mandsaur, farmers in Madhya Pradesh launched a 10-day-long agitation as part of a nationwide strike to press for their demands, including waiver of loans and the right price for crops.
Ten-day protest begins across 22 states
Although the agitation has not affected normal life in the state so far, it is likely to hit the supply of essential items like milk and vegetables in the days to come. Two youths were arrested in connection with the violence in Fatehabad and farmers have been dumping vegetables as a sign of protest everywhere.
Meanwhile in Bhopal, speaking to reporters, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh (RKMM) convenor Shivkumar Sharma announced that the farmers' agitation across 22 states, including Madhya Pradesh, has begun.
"The farmers' bodies have named the agitation as 'Gaon Bandh' (village blockade). The cultivators have been asked not to come to the markets in urban areas to sell their farm produce, including milk," he added. On the last day of the protest on 10 June, the farmers' bodies will organise 'Bharat Bandh', he said adding that the RKMM is one of the organisations involved in the agitation.
The main demands of the farmers include waiving the entire loans of farmers, pension to farmers older than 55 years and Minimum Support Price (MSP) on 65 litres of milk, fruits and vegetables. The farmers who have called for the ten-day long protest will observe 'Gaon Bandh' from 1 June to 10 June. They will observe 5 June as Dhikkar (condemnation) Divas, 6 June as Shaheed Shahadat (Martyrs') Divas, 8 June as Asahyog (non-cooperation) Divas and 10 June as Bharat Bandh. Farmers’ unions in Madhya Pradesh launched a mega 10-day protest on Friday, shutting down the supply of milk, vegetables and essential farm produce. Residents in Mandsaur complained of rising prices of vegetables due to the farmer protests. According to other media reports, protests are being staged in Maharashtra and Punjab as well.
Chief of Aam Kisan Union Kedar Sirohi told IANS that the agitation enjoys the support of more than 150 farmers organisations. Besides, all 50 panchayats of the state have also announced that they would fight for the rights of farmers. "The government responds to the rightful demands of the farmers with lathis and bullets. 6 June is a black day for farmers. Nothing will be supplied by villages to cities for the next 10 days, neither will anything be brought from the cities during the period," Sirohi said.
Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh official spokesperson Sunil Gaur said, "If you want fruits, vegetables and milk, then come to us, and also listen to our woes, which remain unaddressed by those in power, even one year after five agitating farmers were killed in firing in Mandsaur district."
In Uttar Pradesh, farmers began a 10-day strike called 'Kisan Avkash' demanding loan waiver and implementation of Swaminathan commission in the state, ANI reported. In Punjab's Barnala, farmers parked 500 tractors before the Deputy Commissioner to protest against the rising diesel prices. Owing to the farmer protests, cost of vegetables went up by 50 percent in the state. In Faridkot, farmers held protests by throwing fruits and vegetables on roads early on Friday.
Watch: Farmers spill milk on the road in Padampura as a mark of protest.
In Haryana, police held a flag march at Dhangar village in Haryana where miscreants created a ruckus on National Highway 9 under the guise of farmers' protest. Farmers in Badnagar in Ujjain district crawled on dusty roads while chanting slogans such as 'Jaan denge, zameen nahi denge' (We'll give up our lives, not our land), 'Modi government is afraid of us' etc.
At the beginning of the farmers' protest in Madhya Pradesh, the state government had claimed to have made ‘appropriate security arrangements.’ Early on Friday, a farmer from the Mandsaur Sabzi Mandi said that the local administration has assured the farmers of providing security and has also given helpline numbers in case of emergency.
Mandsaur Superintendent of Police (SP) Manoj Kumar Singh told PTI over the phone that so far there is no shortage of vegetables and milk in the district as all the markets are open. The police have kept a close vigil in Mandsaur, where six farmers were killed in police firing during the farmers' agitation on 6 June last year. Neemuch, the adjoining district of Mandsaur, also has not witnessed any shortage of vegetables and milk although the markets are shut there.
"We have been monitoring the situation since morningand it is under control. There is no reason to worry. And if someone tries to create havoc, we will take strict action against miscreants," Neemuch collector Kaushlendra Singh in Madhya Pradesh said. However, no farmer came to the grain market in Neemuch to sell his produce. The Mandsaur SP said no untoward incident has been reported in the district so far. "Five companies of the Special Armed Force (SAF) of MP police are keeping a vigil across the district," he said.
The state government has deployed 89 companies of Special Armed Force (SAF) and more than 20,000 jawans to deal with any untoward situation. IG Intelligence Makrand Deuskar said that the state government has made all arrangements.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 21:02 PM