BHOPAL: After two days of dodging questions, Madhya Pradesh home minister Bhupendra Singh admitted on Thursday that it was police firing that killed five farmers in Mandsaur on Tuesday afternoon.
“The autopsy report and the empty cartridges found at the spot have established that it was bullets fired by the police that killed the farmers,” he said.
Ever since five farmers were killed while agitating in Mandsaur district, the home minister of the state had been saying that there were two incidents of firing that day, the first in the Bahi Chowpati area where there was arson and rioting by farmers and the second at the Pipliya Mandi police station. He had said he wasn’t sure where exactly the deaths occurred.
Bhupendra Singh also claimed on Tuesday that police opened fire in self-defence after a mob stormed the Pipliya Mandi police station and began destroying property.
He had, however, added that it was unclear as to who had opened fire in the first incident at Bahi Chowpati.
After deputing senior IPS officers to quell the continuing agitation, the Madhya Pradesh government on Thursday transferred the collectors of three violence-hit districts — Mandsaur, Ratlam and Neemuch.
The superintendents of police of Mandsaur and Neemuch too have been removed.
Madhya Pradesh chief secretary B P Singh issued orders effecting the transfers just a few hours before Rahul Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders were to arrive on the Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan border to visit the slain farmers’ families in Mandsaur.
The present collector Mandsaur, Swatantra Kumar Singh, has been sent out as the deputy secretary of Bhopal. He will be replaced in Mandsaur by Om Prakash Srivastava.
The present municipal commissioner of Sagar, Kaushalendra Vikram Singh will be the new collector of Neemuch, replacing Rajnish Srivastava, who will be sent abroad on a training sabbatical. The government posted the additional managing director of MP Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC), Tanvi Sundriyal as the new collector of Ratlam, replacing the incumbent B Chandrasekhar.
According to sources in the state government, the Mandsaur superintendent of police O P Tripathi has been shifted as assistant inspector-general to Police HQ in Bhopal.
The SP of Neemuch district Manoj Singh will be the new Mandsaur SP. Manoj Singh’s post in Neemuch will be taken by Tushar Kant Vidyarthi, presently the Railways SP in Bhopal, sources told the New Indian Express.
Curfew relaxed in Mandsaur
The curfew imposed in Pipliyamandi and Mandsaur towns of Mandsaur district on Tuesday was relaxed from 4 pm to 6 pm on Thursday, during which no untoward incident was reported from anywhere. The outgoing Mandsaur SP OP Tripathi said that 62 persons have so far been arrested in connection with seven cases of violence in the district. In the adjoining Dewas district, the police arrested 17 persons in connection with Wednesday’s violence on Indore-Bhopal highway and Hatpipliya police station.
Two trucks set Afire, NH-3 blocked
Violence erupted in Shajpur district (158 km from Bhopal and 180 km from Mandsaur) with unruly mob of protesting farmers setting two trucks afire and blocking the Agra-Mumbai National Highway (NH-3). Police had to fire tear gas shells to disperse the mob, who pelted stones, injuring a sub-divisional magistrate and a few journalists.