Politics over 2017 Mandsaur violence resurfaces: How the farmers' agitation in Madhya Pradesh had unfolded

The politics over the Mandsaur violence last year has resurfaced as Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally there on Wednesday and alleged that the Madhya Pradesh government itself was responsible for the death of six farmers last year.

Even though the violence had begun on 6 June, 2017, the farmers' agitation in Madhya Pradesh had started on 1 June.

Reasons behind the agitation

The farmers were demanding that their loans be written off and their produce be bought by the government at a fair price.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

According to this article in Hindustan Times, farmers were also forced to sell their produce for Rs 2 to 3 per kg because the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government delayed the announcement of procurement price of Rs 8 per kg.

The article also said that 33 percent of the onion procured by the government decayed because of lack of adequate storage facilities. The year 2017 was also the second year of a bumper onion crop with no buyers.

The protests

The agitation began on 1 June last year, with farmers stopping vehicles carrying milk and vegetables and pouring the milk on the roads and throwing away the vegetables.

On 5 June, the protesting farmers headed to Pipliya Mandi and forcibly shut down traders' shops. This led to a clash between the traders and farmers. Houses of many traders were burnt down by the farmers in the clash.

A day later, on 6 June, 2017, the protesting farmers headed to the Pipliya Mandi police station and demanded that the traders who had gone to the police station be handed over to them. The issue eventually escalated and the protesters started pelting stones at the security forces. The forces retaliated and fired shots at the farmers.

Violence also broke out on 7 June, after hundreds of farmers — defying curfew — took to the streets in Mandsaur district. And some 200 km away, a group of farmers marched to a police station in Dewas district and set fire to many vehicles parked there. The farmers then stopped two buses and 10 other vehicles plying on the Indore-Bhopal highway and torched them.

The farmers had alleged that the Madhya Pradesh Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) deliberately opened fire at them when they were protesting.

Six people — Kanhaiya Lal Patidar, Satyanarayan Dhangar, Abhishek Patidar, Bablu, Ghanshyam Dhakad and Chintaman Patidar — were killed in the police firing at Pipliya Mandi during the agitation.

The aftermath

On 8 June last year, the state government transferred the Mandsaur collector SK Singh and superintendent of police OP Tripathi.

On 15 June, the Madhya Pradesh government transferred three police officials out of Mandsaur.

The state government issued the transfer orders as Chief Minister Chouhan continued met the family members of the slain farmers. These families had urged Chouhan to take action against those who are guilty of farmers killing.

During his dialogue with the peasants, Chouhan assured them that the government would fix minimum support price (MSP) for all the farm produce.

He had also assured them that after selling their farm produce, the farmers would be paid the money within 24 hours.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jun 06, 2018 20:39:47 IST

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