At least 1,100 security personnel have been rushed to Madhya Pradesh as farmer protests spread to five more districts. Prohibitory orders had been enforced in the state a day after six farmers were killed at Mandsaur in police firing.
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi held discussions with senior ministers in Delhi to take stock of the situation. The Centre also sought a report from the Madhya Pradesh government on the violence. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also said that people must not instigate the farmers.
The farmers are on a 10 day agitation demanding debt relief, better crop prices and pension benefits. Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan appealed for calm and assured to look into the issue. He also announced compensation of Rs 1 crore for the families of those killed on Tuesday.
On Wednesday there was more violence as protesters heckled Mandsaur district collector Swatantra Kumar Singh and superintendent of police O P Tripathy when they tried to pacify the crowd. Protesters also assaulted policemen, journalists and also burnt police vehicles, a petrol station and trucks. Violence was also reported from Ujjain, Dewas, Neemuch, Dhar and Ratlam districts. Curfew was in force in many parts of Mandsaur for the second day, while mobile phone and Internet services remained suspended in the district where hundreds of policemen in riot gear patrolled the streets.
Will scale up protests:
The farmers said that they would scale up their agitation. The Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh said the protests would continue until demands of the farmers were met. A Madhya Pradesh bandh called by the Congress affected some western parts of the state, but petrol stations, markets and other establishments remained open in Bhopal.
Meanwhile Home Ministry officials in Delhi said that the state administration did not have local intelligence. There was no intelligence on the mobilisation of the farmers and the local administration was not prepared to handle the agitation. The Home Ministry however added that it expected the situation to become normal in the next day or two.