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Mandsaur rally: Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar among many detained, farmers stay firm on protest

Reacting sharply to the detention of about 1,500 people, including farmers who participated in a rally on Thursday a month after the Mandsaur firing, political leaders and activists termed the act “undemocratic, unconstitutional and autocratic move by Shivraj Singh Chouhan.”

On 6 June, six farmers were killed due to police firing and excesses during an agitation at Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh.

Medha Patkar at the Kisan Mukti rally in Mandsaur on Thursday. Twitter/@_SwarajIndia

Medha Patkar at the Kisan Mukti rally in Mandsaur on Thursday. Twitter/@_SwarajIndia

According to sources from Mandsaur, nearly 1,500 people, including political leaders, activists and farmers were detained by Mandsaur police on Thursday, while they were heading towards Pipliya Mandi to pay tribute to the farmers who were killed in the police firing.

“We had orders from the top to not allow farmers to hold rally at Pipliya Mandi and it was intimated to all well in advance. Keeping the law and order situation in mind, no permission was given to hold any public meetings. But when a large number of people, participating in the rally tried to break the cordon, we detained them to move them away from the site,” said a senior police official from Mandsaur.

The police stopped the Kisan Mukti rally and arrested former eight-time Lok Sabha member from CPM Hannan Mollah, former MP Subhashini Ali, Medha Patkar, MP and leader of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan of Maharashtra Raju Shetty, Yogendra Yadav, CPM central committee member Badal Saroj, president of the CPM-backed MP Kisan Sabha Jaswinder Singh and several others.

“Our rally started from Budha Gaon and was heading towards Pipliya Mandi. Our objective was to pay tribute to those farmers who got killed in police firing in a condolence meet and hold a peaceful meeting of farmers thereafter. But we were stopped by the police. All of us have been detained and the police are taking us to an unknown destination,” Yogendra Yadav, president of Swaraj India and convener of Jai Kisan Andolan told Firstpost from Mandsaur.

The police took the farmers and all those who participated in the rally to Krishi Upaj Mandi at Dalod — almost 30 kilometres from Mandsaur — where a meeting was held.

“We have been detained at Dalod Krishi Upaj Mandi. They should have taken us to jail, the nation would have known the repressive attitude of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. The state government is panic-stricken and can go to any extend to suppress this movement.  We’re determined to carry forward this rally that will culminate at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on 18 July and the final rally will be held at Champaran on 2 October. The chief minister has acted in the most undemocratic and unconstitutional manner. The BJP government wants to suppress the voice of farmers,” Badal Saroj told Firstpost from Dalod.

Farmers vow to carry forward the movement

Despite being unsuccessful in holding the rally and pay tribute at Pipliya Mandi, the farmers and activists are determined to give a big push to Kisan Mukti rally and create awareness on farmers’ distress across the country.

The farmers and activists have vowed to carry forward the farmers’ movement across the country in a more aggressive manner. “If Shivraj Singh government thinks it can suppress the voice of farmers by arresting them, he is mistaken. We’ll take this movement ahead in a stronger manner across the country. The Madhya Pradesh government failed to implement the announcements made by the chief minister after the farmers’ agitation in June. The farmers are still being exploited in mandis,” Jaswinder Singh, president of the CPM-backed MP Kisan Sabha told Firstpost.

Apart from the political leaders, around 162 farmers’ bodies and thousands of farmers participated in the rally in Mandsaur to remind the chief minister of the promises he had made at the height of the agitation to bring peace but has since seemingly forgotten.

Updated Date: Jul 06, 2017 20:45 PM

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