The Mandsaur incident is a heart rendering one. Politics is being played over it. Rahul Gandhi's visit to Mandsaur is aimed at politicising the issue, the BJP has said. However what needs to be said here is that there was a similar incident that took place in Madhya Pradesh, 19 years back in which 18 farmers were killed in police firing.
When the Multai incident took place, it was Digivijaya Singh who was the chief minister of MP. There were reports calling the police force as Digvijaya Singh firing squads. The similarities between Multai and Mandsaur are uncanny in nature. In both incidents, the protests took place over the issue of loan waiver. In 1998, the farmers had gathered under the banner of the Kisan Sangharsh Morcha, which was floated by Dr Sunilam (Sunil Mishra), a PhD from Delhi University and member of the Janata Dal national executive, to fight for their rights.
In Mandsaur, the farmers are demanding loan waiver and a higher price for their produce. In both the protests at Multai and Mandsaur, the event began on a peaceful note. It only turned violent later.
The Kisan Morcha had issued an ultimatum to Digvijay that if the demands were not met by January 11, they would resort to a road blockade and gherao Multai's tehsil office. On January 12, a 15,000-strong farmer contingent gathered outside the building and as tempers ran high, a few farmers started pelting stones at the policemen. The police who were enraged began shooting at random and in the incident 18 farmers lost their lives.
In Mandsaur too the protest began on a peaceful note. It was only after a couple of days that the farmers went berserk and damaged vehicles, railway tracks and also engaged in rioting.
In both Mandsaur and Multai, the protest spread across the state quickly. In Multai the police got orders to open fire. An MLA of the BJP Shailendra Pradhan had said that they were shooting to kill.