MANDSAUR: A month after five farmers were killed in the police firing during the protest in Piplya Mandi near here, the police have released the names of 32 persons who were earlier booked under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, in connection with the violence.
However, the Congress has dismissed the development, saying the state government is continuously shifting its stand on the instigators behind the peasants' agitation.
Police had recently identified these alleged drug peddlers among the protesters, who had been booked for violence during the farmers' stir.
A list naming the 32 smugglers/peddlers was released yesterday, days after the assurance given by the state Director General of Police Rishi Kumar Shukla that the names of instigators would be made public.
"We have identified 32 persons, accused of drug peddling in the past, who indulged in violence during the farmers' protest in the last month. They are absconding,"
Mandsaur Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh had said recently.
Though cases under the NDPS Act are pending against all the 32 persons who are carrying varying amounts of reward on their heads, no specific offences are specified against them in the released list.
While 19 out of 32 persons, already booked under NDPS Act, are carrying rewards of Rs 5,000 each on their heads, 12 others are carrying bounty of Rs 1,000 each and one of Rs 3,000, the police stated in a release today.
However, the opposition Congress accused the government of frequently changing its stand on the farmers' stir.
"State government is constantly shifting his stand. Initially, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other ministers had said that the Congress was behind the agitation, and now the government is saying that opium smugglers and peddlers had instigated farmers," State unit Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said.
Mandsaur became the epicentre of the farmers'
agitation after the firing incident on June 6, triggering large-scale protests in various parts of the state. The deaths of farmers had snowballed into a major political issue.