PIPLIYAMANDI (MANDSAUR): This year’s 10-day-long farmers’ protest has largely been peaceful in Madhya Pradesh but wounds from the arson and violence that erupted during last year’s agitation are still raw. Many families in Mandsaur district, who lost most of their property to mob fury, have got little compensation from the Shivraj Singh Chouhan regime.
Nearly a dozen shops and homes of traders were torched by mobs of masked men in Pipliyamandi town of Mandsaur on June 6-7 last year following the killing of five farmers allegedly in police firing at two places in Pipliyamandi town. But the compensation they got two months later ranged between 11 per cent and 25 per cent of what they had claimed as losses.Among those whose shops were gutted was 38-year-old readymade garment trader Shiv Paliwal. Along with wife Manisha and children Aditya and Anjali, he used to run Surabhi Dresses in Pipliyamandi main market.
“My shop was targeted by the masked men claiming to be farmers on June 7 afternoon because I was among those who tried to douse the fire started by them at a neighbouring shop owned by Anil Jain the day before. By the time, my family and I could rush from our house to the shop, the entire shop had been gutted. They broke the shop locks and looted stuff before setting it ablaze,” Paliwal told The Sunday Standard.
The incident happened three months after Paliwal had taken a `15-lakh loan for business expansion, pledging his house as collateral security. “We submitted a loss claim of `25 lakh to the district administration with all relevant evidence, but all we got two months later was `2.86 lakh, which was 11 per cent of the claimed amount,” he said.Manisha broke down while talking about her family’s travails. “With a mounting bank loan and private debts worth over `25 lakh, I’ve had to not only sell my entire jewellery, but have also been forced to pull both Anjali (Class IX) and Aditya (Class X) out of school. They’ve lost a year but plan to give their exams as private students in the coming academic session.”
She continued, “Congress leader Rahul Gandhi promised to waive farmers’ loans on coming to power in MP, but who’s going to waive the debts we ran up after our shop was torched?”The shop of another readymade garments trader, Virendra Pharkiya, too was totally gutted. “I filed a claim for `1 crore but got only around `25 lakh. My family is reeling under huge debts run up to rebuild the shop, but no one will come to our aid as we’re not farmers,” he said.
Mandsaur district collector OP Srivastava said, “Compensation is only paid to traders if their property is gutted in communal riots. But since the CM had himself announced compensation, we got loss assessment done in each case by the PWD department and then paid as much of the damages as possible. We’ve paid compensation to traders in crores all across the district.”