Five MP farmers die in police firing; CM orders judicial probe

Police said hundreds of farmers torched vehicles and fired at riot police in the Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh state

Farmers were protesting for better prices for their produce in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district.

Taking cognizance of the situation, Chouhan appealed for peace to the agitating farmers in the state and also announced a compensation of Rs. one crore to the kin of those killed in the violence.

AT LEAST five farmers died in alleged police firing in Pipaliya Mandi area of Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday. After the meeting, the chief minister tweeted: "I am happy the farmers have made a decision to withdraw the strike".

Among their demands are a waiver of all farm loans, minimum support prices that are 50 percent over costs of production, a pension for farmers 60 years and older, interest free credit, higher prices for milk and fully-subsidized micro-irrigation equipment.

Singh and Tripathi wanted to talk to the farmers in a bid to persuade them to end their protest but the attempt backfired. Now the government is using bullets to suppress farmers' voice. After the firing, angry farmers ransacked, set ablaze a police station and flogged several security personnel.

"This is a sad event, and as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh has said, there is political influence in it".

"Rahul Gandhi was not given permission by the state government to visit Mandsaur", Congress's Madhya Pradesh unit chief Arun Yadav told IANS over phone.

The protesters in Madhya Pradesh are also demanding that the state government waive repayment of farm loans.

MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan denied the firing, and blamed the Congress for the protests. Even though authorities clamped a curfew in the area, mobs of protestors were on the roads indulging in arson. BJP is the ruling party in both Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra states.

According to a PTI report, Mandsaur collector, when he tried to pacify the protesting farmers, a day after five persons were killed in violence during their agitation here, was heckled.

The prices of fresh produce have more than doubled in cities such as Mumbai, India's main financial center and the capital of Maharashtra. Farmers are likely to observe the strike from June 1 to June 10, pressing their demands on the government. "They surrendered to cops peacefully", he said. In last two days, demand of farmers to purchase onion was fulfilled. Other farmers' organisations, however, including the RSS-backed Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, had called off the demonstrations after their meeting with Chouhan. "Farmers were not carrying weapons", Gajendra Tokas of the National Farm Workers' Union, which has called for a state-wide strike on Wednesday, told Reuters news agency.

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