Farmers, MP district officials on collision course over rally

The collector said the farmers are adamant on assembling at Bahi-Phanta and then coming to Pipalia Mandi for a public meeting to start the rally.

Published: 06th July 2017 08:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th July 2017 08:05 AM   |  A+A-

By PTI

MANDSAUR:  Farmers' plan to launch a vehicle rally tomorrow from the site of last month's police firing here has hit a roadblock with the local administration vowing not to give permission for the stir.

The ryots want to start the nationwide-rally on tractors and four-wheelers from Pipalia Mandi -- the place where five farmers were killed in police firing during an agitation on June 6.

On the other hand, the district administration is not giving permission to the farmers' outfits to start the rally from the town, around 17 km from the district headquarters, saying tension still prevails in the area.

"We won't allow farmers to hold a condolence meeting at (nearby) Bahi-Phanta area (to mourn the death of the five farmers) and then take out the rally from Pipalia Mandi," collector O P Shrivastava told PTI over phone. "Tension still prevails in Pipalia Mandi. Besides Bahi -Phanta is a place from where a four-lane road passes.

Traffic on that road will come to a halt if farmers arrive for the condolence meeting on their tractors," he added. The collector said the farmers are adamant on assembling at Bahi-Phanta and then coming to Pipalia Mandi for a public meeting to start the rally.

However, shops were burnt during the farmer stir at Pipalia Mandi and the area is "still tense", he said "Farmers are free to start their rally from any other place in the district.

We don't want to curtail the democratic rights of any person or group," Shrivastava contended. "We have made some preventive arrests," he said, but did not elaborate.

Ujjain division range Inspector General of Police Madhu Kumar said adequate security arrangements are being made to maintain law and order. "Nothing (untoward) will happen. We will handle the situation," he said.

Notwithstanding the administration's tough stance, a farmer leader said there will be no change in venue. "We are going to take out the rally from Pipalia Mandi," Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sabha president Jaswinder Singh, who has already reached Mandsaur, said. "Farmer leaders from different parts of the country are coming to Pipalia Mandi.

They will demand that a memorial be built for the farmers killed in police firing," he added. "More than 150 farmer organisations are going to take part in the rally," he said. Police "excesses" on farmers have increased. Police are threatening cultivators and asking them not to take part in the agitation, Singh alleged.

The vehicle rally has been organised by farmer outfits to demand remunerative prices for agriculture produce and waiver of farm loans, among other things, he said. Singh said the rally will pass through Maharashtra, Gujarat and reach New Delhi on July 18 where farmers are planning to hold a demonstration in front of Parliament.

The vehicle march will continue from the national capital and culminate at Champaran in Bihar on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Singh added. "We want immediate implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report (on welfare of farmers)," he added. "The implementation of the report was one of the promises made by the BJP in its manifesto.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had later announced the report will be implemented, but nothing has happened yet," he added.

Among other things, the commission had recommended fixing the minimum support prices (MSPs) for crops at levels at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production.

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