5 killed as police fire on M.P. farmers

Five farmers were killed and two critically injured in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh when the police opened fire during a violent protest on Tuesday.

The State government later imposed curfew in sensitive areas of the district and suspended Internet services in Mandsaur, Ratlam, Neemuch and Ujjain.

“Five persons died in Tuesday’s incident but the situation is under control,” Mandsaur Collector S.K. Singh said over telephone.

“Curfew has been clamped in the Pipalya Mandi police station area and Section 144 imposed in the rest of the district,” he added. According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of protesters threw farm produce on the road and forcibly shut shops in the Pipliya Mandi Parshavnath Chowpatty area of the district. They also threw stones and torched over a dozen vehicles.

The police at first lobbed tear gas shells to bring the situation under control. But when the mob did not disperse, they opened fire.

The farmers in the State have been agitating since June 1, demanding better prices for their produce and waiver of their loans.

The bodies of the five protesters have been kept in the Mandsaur district hospital, a senior official said.

CM blames Congress

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan blamed the Congress for having “turned the agitation violent” and alleged that their aim was always to give it a “political colour.” The State government has ordered a judicial probe into the firing and announced a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs. 1 lakh to the injured persons.

The Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (RKMS), which is leading the agitation by the farmers, announced a state-wide bandh on Wednesday to protest against the police firing.

— source thehindu.com

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