Shots fired at protest kill 5 farmers in central India

One more farmer later succumbed to wounds. Really, is there nowhere they can go?

A clash broke out today between agitating farmers and police in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district after which five farmers were killed in police firing.

The strike began on Thursday in Maharashtra, with farmers dumping produce and milk on the street to demand debt forgiveness and better prices for their produce.

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been protesting crop prices since 1 June, complaining that their incomes have not risen despite steady hike in agricultural production.

Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh Chairman Shivkumar Sharma identified the dead as Bablu Patidar, Sarender Patidar, Kanhaiya, Satyanarayan, and Akhilesh, who is said to be a college student. In a bid to control the situation, authorities imposed curfew late on Tuesday in parts of Mandsaur. All connectivity including the Internet were severed. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is blaming the Congress party for his own failure.

Talking to Business Line, leader of the SSS and MP Raju Shetty said: "Radha Mohan Singh (Agriculture Minister) and Ram Vilas Paswan (Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution) have destroyed agriculture in India".

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Police firing on protesting farmers in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, has sharpened political faultlines, with the Opposition Congress - and even NDA allies - accusing the BJP-ruled Central and State governments of ignoring the nationwide agricultural distress. The injured will get Rs five lakh in compensation, he added. After the meeting, the chief minister tweeted: "I am happy the farmers have chose to withdraw the strike".

"Based on this information, farmers can take informed decisions about selection of crop", she added.

Later in a press conference, BJP General Secretary Bhupender Yadav said the BJP government in the state was taking appropriate measures to tackle the issue.

But tension was still high as angry farmers blocked roads and also attacked two senior officials at Mandsaur. "I saw news reports that farmers have burnt vehicles and destroyed railway tracks". The following day, protesters at Piplia Toll Naka threw stones at police and torched 27 vehicles. The six persons who were killed in firing on Tuesday belong to the powerful Patidar community which has a strong presence in the Mandsaur-Neemach belt. Despite the government's assurances that it would buy onions and moong dal from the farmers, the protests are intensifying. Farmers are likely to observe the strike from June 1 to June 10, pressing their demands on the government.

The Congress targeted the Modi government for allegedly failing the farmers by not fulfilling its election manifesto pledge to give them 50 per cent profit above the MSP for their produce.


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