Arrest of farmers leader before Mandsaur Yatra flayed

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New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) An umbrella organisation of activists fighting for farmers’ rights on Wednesday flayed as undemocratic the arrest of former legislator Sunilam a day before the Kisan Mukti Yatra is scheduled to start from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh.

It also termed as authoritarian the arrest of Sunilam, a leader of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, and said it showed the undemocratic attitude of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Madhya Pradesh as well as of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, the umbrella organisatio0n of activists fighting for the rights of farmers, Dalit and tribals, said the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in the state was trying to “supress the voice of farmers by arresting our leaders”.

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It said the arrest would not deter the farmers from participating in the proposed march, which will pass through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Haryana before ending in Delhi on July 18.

Several social activists and politicians like Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan, and Lok Sabha member Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana are expected to join the yatra.

Meanwhile, Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India has written an open letter to Chouhan, condemning the local administration’s decision to refuse permission for a ‘mahapanchayat’ (public meeting) in Pipaliya market in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh, where at least five farmers were killed in police firing last month.

“We know the state government will be exposed in the mahapanchayat and so it is giving excuses to refuse permission. Your action is in violation of democratic rights of the public and social organisations,” he wrote in the letter.

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Yadav said the event will nevertheless be held even if police stop farmers heading for the market.



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