BHOPAL: Politics in Madhya Pradesh has received a sudden charge after policemen made protesting farmers strip down to their undies and beat them up inside the Tikamgarh Dehat police station on Tuesday.
The group of 40 or so cultivators were returning from a Congress-led protest at the Tikamgarh district collectorate earlier. The police used force and tear gas to quell the protest.
The Tikamgarh stripping and beating up led to an outcry which forced the state’s home minister Bhupendra Singh to announce a probe into the incident. The director-general of police has been asked to institute an enquiry and submit a report within three days, he said in Bhopal.
Describing the incident as one of serious concern, Bhupendra Singh said, “The chief minister (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) has been apprised in detail about the entire incident.”
Thousands of farmers took part in the protest outside the Tikamgarh district collectorate as part of the Congress’s Khet Bachao-Kisan Bachao agitation on Tuesday. The Tikamgarh district collector did not bother to meet the farmers nor receive a memorandum of their demands.
Police used force and tear gas shells to disperse the farmers and Congress workers. Over 20 farmers were injured.
Superintendent of police Kumar Prateek said the use of force was justified as the mob pelted stones on the policemen. “At least eight constables were hurt in the incident,” said Prateek.
In the evening when a group of protestors numbering around 40 was returning home on a tractor, they were detained at the Tikamgarh Dehat police station. They were stripped down to their underwear and beaten up inside the police station.
The leader of the opposition Ajay Singh said the incident was an apt indicator that the government as well as the police have lost all tolerance of farmers fighting for their rights.
Congress MLA Yadvendra Singh said the incident has exposed the intolerant face of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. “We’re collecting evidence of the stripping and beating of innocent farmers at the Tikamgarh Dehat police station. The evidence will be sent to the National Human Rights Commission,” said Ajay Singh.