BHOPAL: After spending four hours in police custody at a guest house in violence-hit Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh (450 km from Bhopal), Congress national vice president Rahul Gandhi was released on bail by the state police.
Gandhi and 28 other national and state Congress leaders were arrested from Nayagaon in Neemuch district on MP-Rajasthan border for allegedly breaching peace by trying to go to violence-hit Mandsaur, despite the curfew clamped there.
Rahul Gandhi’s attempt to reprise his Bhatta Parsaul feat in Madhya Pradesh came to nothing. Madhya Pradesh police and local administration did not grant him permission to meet them at the guest house where Gandhi and Congress leaders were detained before being released on personal surety bond at around 5.15 pm.
“The families tried hard to meet Rahul at the guest house, but they were not allowed to meet him. They could only talk to him over phone and he promised to surely meet them after release from custody,” said former Mandsaur MP and Gandhi’s close confidant Meenakshi Natrajan.
“He met the kin later at the shrine of Sanwaria Seth in Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan (60 km from Neemuch) under police vigil,” said Natrajan.
She added that Gandhi met four of the five families who lost their loved ones in police firing in Mandsaur on Tuesday. “He spoke to the deceased farmers’ kin, who told them how farmers in Madhya Pradesh were not getting even the minimum support price of their produce. The families told him that they were not getting even an iota of the production cost on crop while selling their produce in the mandis. They also demanded that if the soldiers fighting for the country get status of martyrs on sacrificing their lives, their departed sons should get the martyrs status as they have been shot dead by police sans any provocation or caution,” said Natrajan.
Earlier in the day, other Mandsaur-bound Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, Ajay Singh, Arun Yadav and Mohan Prakash and Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (U) were also stopped from entering MP at Nayagaon. Gandhi and Jeetu Patwari set off from Nimbahera in Chtttorgarh district in Rajasthan, hoping to reach Mandsaur by a wild country route through Rajasthan. In Mandsaur, Gandhi planned to meet the family of one of the five farmers. Talking to journalists after being stopped, Rahul said, “The Modi government and the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government are anti-farmer. They waive the loans of their industrialist friends, but won’t waive the loans of farmers.”