MP gears up to deal with Mandsaur farmers stir

L S Herdenia

Mandsaur will turn into a Kurukshetra from June 1 onwards when various farmers’ organisations will launch a ten-day agitation to mark the first anniversary of the farmers’ agitation, which took a violent turn culminating in the killing of six persons last year. Brisk preparations are being made by farmers’ organisations for the success of the state-wide protests.
Congress on its part is preparing for the visit of its national president Rahul Gandhi on June 6. Besides addressing rallies, he will visit many villages that were affected by last year’s movement. He may also call on the families of those who were killed in the firing. 
The government is making elaborate preparations to ensure that the ten-day agitation passes off peacefully.
Chief Minister Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan has asked both civil and police officials to handle the stir with patience. Taking a lesson from the incident during the agitation in Mandsaur, the state government is observing caution ahead of this year’s agitation.
Chouhan met the divisional commissioner and inspectors general (IGs) of police and told them to have patience and remain alert during the agitation called by farmers organisations from June 1 to 10.
He told them to be present on the ground and not to depend on feedback from lower rungs. Chouhan told divisional commissioners that the farmers need to be told of the significant work done by the government for them. He claimed that all the demands of farmers have been accepted and their future demands would also be accepted.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the administration is monitoring 410 villages of Mandsaur, Neemach and Ratlam districts. About 100 villages of Mandsaur, which were the worst affected during last year’s agitation, are being monitored with greater intensity. The administration has prepared an elaborate plan to keep eye on possible trouble makers. According to the plan, 1,500 people from the area have been made to sign bonds with the assurance to keep good behaviour, 1,300 people have been given red card with warning of dire consequences if peace is disrupted and 1,050 people who had participated in the last agitation have been warned to stay away. On June 6, 2017 a farmer had died in Nayakheda (Neemuch) due to police firing, so cops are on high alert here. Following intelligence inputs from the Central agencies about agitation, the officials have started collecting details of the farmer and political leaders who are potential threat to peace.
While interacting with media, IG intelligence Makrand Deouskar suspected that the farmer’s protest could go nasty as many other organisations have signalled joining the agitation against the government.
Leaders of various farmers’ organisations have deplored the procedure adopted by the administration to make people sign bonds assuring good behaviour and that they will not participate in any agitation.
Peasant leader Shiv Kumar Sharma “Kakkaji” has warned the administration to forthwith stop seeking bonds from common people. If the procedure is not stopped immediately, the government should be ready to face serious consequences. “Looking at the hardships being faced by farmers, we will not rest till this anti-Kisan government is overthrown,” he said. During the ten day agitation the farmers will not sell their produce. This ban will apply to food grains as well as vegetables and milk. Sharma said because of hardships more than 60,000 farmers of Madhya Pradesh have committed suicide. He also asserted that various schemes and promises made by the Chief Minister have not helped the farmers.
The agitation is being launched to pressurise the government to fulfill important demands. These include complete waiver of loans, extra profit for farmers on their produce, pension to those farmers who have attained the age of 65 and dropping of charges against those who were booked in last year’s agitation. There is also a demand for the dissolution of the enquiry commission which was appointed to go in the causes of police firing and its replacement with a high level fact finding enquiry.
Meanwhile, Congress has decided to make all-out efforts to ensure a grand success of Rahul Gandhi’s visit. It has already started sending volunteers to around 2,200 villages under Mandsaur parliamentary constituency to rekindle the fire against the government and its anti-kisan policies. Congress hopes to mobilise more than a lakh farmers for the June 6 rally to be addressed by Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, Digvijay Singh has announced another yatra, this time a political one, with an eye on the polls. Singh, who was appointed head of the party’s election coordination committee by Rahul Gandhi three days ago, said that neither he, nor any member of the panel will contest the polls. “It is a condition we laid down during the meeting today. Members of this committee will not contest the November assembly elections. Anyone who is interested in a party ticket should resign (from the panel) now,” Singh said. He had earlier said he was not in the race for CM.
Besides Digvijay Singh, Ajay Singh, leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, is also undertaking a yatra. Both the yatras will help in motivating people for the farmer’s agitation.
While taking several stringent measures to deal with the agitation, the government is also talking in the terms of suspending internet and mobile services in sensitive areas if the protest takes a serious turn. (IPA)

Thursday, 31 May, 2018