Centre steps in to quell MP unrest, 1,100 riot police deployed
The Centre has rushed 1,100 anti- riots police personnel to Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur to help restore peace in the district where five persons were killed in violence during a protest by farmers demanding debt relief and better crop prices.
More than a dozen policemen were injured, one critically, on Wednesday as thousands of farmers torched warehouse, shops and vehicles in Pipliamandi area of Mandsaur, the ground zero of the protest where five people were killed in firing to curb violence.
The protesters looted liquor and medicine shops right under the nose of the policemen, who seemed to be treading cautiously after the angry backlash following the deaths.
A 5-km stretch of Mandsaur bypass road was completely blocked by the farmers, who indulged in arson and violence, while robbing long distance truckers.
Farmers demanding debt relief and better crop prices on Wednesday "heckled" Mandsaur collector when he tried to pacify them.
Also, former MP from Mandsaur, Meenakshi Natarajan, was detained when she was on her way to meet the family members of the deceased.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday convened a high-level meeting to a stock of the situation in Madhya Pradesh.
Rattled by violence during farmers' stir at Mandsaur, the Madhya Pradesh government on Wednesday announced a crop-loan settlement scheme which proposes waiving of interests for those cultivators who have defaulted.
Farmers said on Wednesday that they plan to scale up their protests. "We will continue our protest until the government accepts our demands," said Sunil Gaur of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, a national union of farmers.
The state's top human rights body sought an explanation on Wednesday from the administration.
It has also sought a detailed report over Tuesday's violence and steps taken by the state government to bring back normalcy in the violence-hit area.
Around 600 personnel of the Rapid Action Force, a specialised anti-riots force, have already reached Mandsaur to assist the local administration, a Home Ministry official said.
Altogether 500 more RAF personnel are being sent to Mandsaur by the Home Ministry on the request of the state government.
Farmers in western Madhya Pradesh are protesting since June 1 demanding higher minimum support prices (MSP) for their produce, among others.
Curfew remained in force in Pipalya Mandi police station area of the district and Mandsaur town on Wednesday, while prohibitory orders restricting movement under section 144 of CrPC are also imposed in the rest of the district.
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu blamed the Congress for instigating farmers in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh where five people were killed in police firing.
The protests were being hijacked by the Congress, Naidu said a day after the violence. Farmers in the area have been protesting since June 1 demanding higher minimum support prices (MSP) for their produce among other things
The Congress on Wednesday alleged that on an average nearly 35 farmers committed suicide every day in the country ever since Narendra Modi became the prime minister.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is expected to visit Madhya Pradesh's violence-hit Mandsaur district on Thursday to meet the kin of the five persons who were killed in violence during the farmers'