Rahul Gandhi today met the families of farmers killed in police firing on Tuesday during agitation in Madhya Pradesh, and vowed to press for farm loan waiver across the country.
The kin of four of the five deceased farmers were brought to Rajathan's Chittorgarh district by Congress workers to meet Gandhi after he was released along with 250 supporters on border by Madhya Pradesh police. The Congress Vice President lashed out at the BJP governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh for stopping him from visiting Mandsaur and demanded martyr status for the farmers who were killed in the police action during the stir for loan waiver, MSP rise among other demands.
"I wanted to meet the families for two minutes to say that we are with them, but I was not allowed. I only wanted to share their grief....Am I not a citizen of this country? Am I not allowed to visit Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and other (BJP ruled) states just because I do not belong to the RSS?" he told reporters after consoling the bereaved families.
He attacked the Modi government, saying it has forgotten the farmers and was only interested in waiving the debt of "50 richest people" of the country. "The farmers in the county are desperately crying for help but the government is not ready to hear them," he said.
He supported the farmers' demand for loan waiver and said that they were not getting their due. Gandhi that the loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh had come as he had mounted pressure on the BJP government on the issue. "I will continue to press every government across the country to waive farmers' loans. I will keep raising the issue in Parliament," he said.
He accused the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of lying on the issue of farmers death in police firing. Action should be taken against the security personnel involved in the firing incident.
The farmers were not warned and were shot in the chest in violation of all standing operation procedures, he alleged "This is barbaric. Those who have died should get martyr status." He also slammed the BJP for saying that he had gone for a 'photo-op' there. "I only wanted meet the farmers. What was the need for controversy?" Gandhi said.
He added that government can waive loans of Rs 1.10 lakh crore of 50 rich people in the country, then why the loans of those farmers who feed the nation cannot be waived.
Earlier, while Gandhi was detained by the police, he said, "The didn't give any reason, just said they are arresting me. The same was done in Uttar Pradesh also."
"Na kisaano ka karza maaf karte hain, na bonus dete; bas goliyaan dete hain (They neither waive farmer loans nor do they give bonus. They just tell lies)," he added.
Earlier, Rahul took to Twitter to vent his ire at the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Police, saying that they were stopping him from meeting the farmers.
"Raj & MP Govts are doing their best to prevent me from entering MP & meeting the families of the #farmers killed in #Mandsaur...What law of the land says that it is illegal to stand in solidarity with farmers who were killed simply for demanding what is their right?," he said in series of tweets.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh lashed out at the Congress vice president for attempting to visit violence hit region.
"He has been detained. What was the emergency to go there now? He only wants to do politics," he told news agency ANI.
Despite curfew being in force and administration having denied permission for anyone to visit Mandsaur, Rahul Gandhi left for Madhya Pradesh's violence-hit area to meet the agitating farmers. He is being accompanied by Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath.
However, Superintendent of Police of Neemuch Manoj Kumar Singh said the Congress leader will not be allowed to enter the violence-hit district where the situation remains tense. If the Congress leader tries to enter the district, he will be detained, the SP said.
Rahul's visit can be seen as an attempt to make foray into the BJP stronghold. The state has been continuously voting for the BJP since 2003.
A farmers' agitation demanding loan waivers and higher crop prices in Madhya Pradesh spread to large parts of the state on Wednesday with protesters torching vehicles, targeting police stations and attacking government officials.
According to reports, district collector Swatantra Kumar Singh had said that no outsider would be allowed to visit Mandsaur. Even last month, Rahul had tried to visit violence-hit Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, but was denied entry.
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.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs