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3:21 pm - Thursday March 18, 9334

MP farmers’ stir: Bandh evokes widespread response


Agencies, Bhopal

A day after six farmers were killed in firing during their agitation in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh, a bandh called by the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (RKMS) evoked widespread response in the state’s western part today even as violent protests were reported from certain places.

In Dewas district, two police stations and several vehicles were vandalised or torched in separate instances. A bus was stopped and vandalised before being set afire at Neori Phata. Protestors blocked the Dewas bypass and the Ujjain Road on the Bhopal-Indore Road. Private operators cancelled bus services on the Bhopal-Indore route.

Besides, agitating farmers set ablaze a fire brigade vehicle, 15 seized motorcycles, a truck, three buses and 20 other big vehicles at Haat Pipalia Police Station. Police residential premises were also put on fire. A Dial-100 police vehicle, a dumper and buses were vandalised at the Chaapda Post.

Several shops and a few government vehicles were also targeted. Curfew continued to remain in force in Piplia Mandi and Mandsaur towns as well as in other areas where it was clamped yesterday after violence broke out. Nevertheless, police and administrative authorities had a hard time in keeping the situation in control even as agitators continued to stage protest at several places.

Collector Swatantra Kumar Singh was today beaten up and misbehaved with by a mob in Barkhedapant village. He had gone to pacify protestors who had placed the body of a deceased farmer and blocked road. Some people made way for him to come out safe. A video of the incident has surfaced. Television journalist Brajesh Rajput was also targeted at the village but he managed to escape along with his cameraman. His OB van came out safe later.

A video report was aired on the news channel. Mr Rajput said that villagers felt that media was projecting a violent image of the agitation. Protestors damaged railway tracks at Malhargarh affecting rail traffic from Neemuch-Mandsaur to Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh. Stone-pelting incidents were reported at an ATM (Automated Teller Machine), a factory and a toll plaza. However, no confirmation from police could be obtained. Tight security arrangements are in place in nearby Neemuch and Ratlam districts and additional police force was deployed.

Internet services remained suspended in these districts along with Ujjain. There were reports of senior Congress leader Meenakshi Natrajan and her supporters being taken into custody in order to maintain peace. However, the reports could not be confirmed. In Indore, RKMS president Shiv Kumar Sharma, while talking to media, claimed that eight – and not six – people were killed in firing in Mandsaur.

He charged the state regime of not revealing true death toll. He demanded that the President’s rule be imposed in Madhya Pradesh as situation has gone out of control. The RKMS, the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the Aam Kisan Union – who addressed a joint press conference – said that ‘jail bharo’ agitation would be launched from June 10.

Meanwhile, the bandh – which has been supported by the principal opposition Congress – evoked mixed to widespread response in several parts of Indore, Ujjain, Dhar, Sehore, Neemuch, Ratlam, Gwalior, Shajapur, Agar Malwa, Khargone, Khandwa, Burhanpur, Guna, Rajgarh and Barwani districts.

Congress workers appealed to shopkeepers to keep their shops shut. The bandh did not evoke much response in Bhopal, Hoshangabad and Satna districts. In Shivpuri, a bandh would be observed tomorrow as information for enforcing bandh reached today after shops had already opened. Madhya Pradesh Congress Chief Spokesperson KK Mishra claimed that the bandh evoked widespread response.

Posted in: Featured, Madhya Pradesh

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