New Delhi: The ongoing farmers’ strike in Madhya Pradesh got an indirect boost on Tuesday with the arrest of Gujarat’s Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel who was on his way to visit the families of farmers who were killed in police firing last week in Mandsaur. The suicide of two more farmers in Hoshangabad and in Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s home town Sehore has aggravated the problem for the state BJP government.
After getting transported out of MP and released on bail, Hardik Patel was quoted as saying, “I am not a terrorist. I have not come from Lahore. I am an Indian citizen and have the right to go anywhere in the country.” He criticised the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, and said that 50 crore farmers have risen against the saffron party.
Farmers began their protest on June 1 demanding loan waiver and higher prices for their produce. It took an ugly turn after six famers were killed in police firing on June 6 in Mandsaur, leading to violent clashes between the farmers and the police.
The situation forced Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan to sit on an indefinite fast on June 11 for the restoration of peace in the state. He called off his fast within 18 hours and promised to resolve farmers’ issues.
According to a TV network, two farmers, Makhan Lal Digolia, 68 and Dhulichand, 52, have committed suicide in Hoshangabad’s Seoni Malwa and Sehore.
According to National Crime Record Bureau figures 11,000 farmers have committed suicide in the state in the last nine years.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia talking to media persons in Indore on Tuesday likened the BJP government in the state to “Hitler’s rule”. He said the death of five farmers in police firing in Mandsaur was a blot on the Chauhan government. The Congress leader is scheduled to launch his 72-hour satyagraha in Bhopal on Wednesday.
Agitating farmers in Haryana have refused to withdraw their stir and announced plans to block national and state highways on June 16, which was decided earlier at the conclave of 50 farmers’ organisations in the capital. As on March 31, 2015, the total outstanding crop loan in Haryana was pegged at Rs. 28,558 crore.
Meanwhile former CM Bhupender Singh Hooda has decided to launch state wide agitation to pressurize the BJP government in the state to implement Swaminathan report. Earlier on June 6, BJP General Secretary Anil Jain said it was not possible to implement the report.
Observers believe that agitating farmers in different states have been emboldened by the loan waiver that the Maharashtra government had announced on Sunday.