Rahul Gandhi storms Mandsaur, takes fight to BJP bastion

Elias Hubbard
June 9, 2017

Though the Congress leader was arrested at Nimaheda, along with senior party leaders like Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath, he spoke to the victims' kin over phone from the makeshift jail he was taken to.

"We will put pressure on the central government and get the loans of farmers across the country waived", added the Congress leader.

After days of denying security forces' culpability in the death of five farmers in violence-hit Mandsaur, the Madhya Pradesh government finally admitted that they were killed by police bullets, following a complete breakdown of crowd control measures in the violence.

In a report submitted to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Madhya Pradesh government said the protesting farmers, demanding loan waiver, had allegedly set ablaze 25 trucks and two police vans along the Mhow-Neemuch highway on Tuesday. It turned into a rally of sorts with Rahul Gandhi leading from the front. When the police tried to push him back, he entered a field and was detained from there. As contingents of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) fanned out into the district, the state government shunted out Mandsaur collector Swatantra Singh and Superintendent of Police O P Tripathi.

"But a conspiracy was hatched on June 5-6 and in the name of farmers the state was thrown into a cycle of violence", Tomar said.

Mr Gandhi took a bike to reach the Madhya Pradesh border after his convoy was stopped in Rajasthan.

In Maharashtra, where farmers agitations have been part of the polity for decades now, there are several remnants of ertswhile organisations dotting the state. "Only talks can end the differences", Chouhan said in a press statement here. The farmers have run out of cash due to digital payment mode, which is still at a nascent stage in Madhya Pradesh, he said.

The RKMS, with the Bharatiya Kisan Union and Aam Kisan Union held a joint press conference in Mandsaur, wherein the union alleged that farmers were shot in the neck and head which is a violation of Supreme Court guidelines.

Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh said the authorities made a decision to relax curfew from 10 a.m.to 6 p.m.

He said anti-social elements trying to inject instability would be dealt with strictly.

But on Thursday he said an inquiry had established that police had opened fire on the protesters.

Farm protests have spread like wildfire across India's food bowl states in recent weeks with a slew of suicides in neighbouring Maharashtra and simmering discontent in Rajasthan.

Naidu's comments came shortly after the Congress vice president was detained in Neemuch by police for defying ban orders imposed in the violence-hit Mandsaur district where he wished to go in order to meet the grieving families of farmers had who lost their lives in the police firing.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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