Bhopal, July 6 (IANS) The ‘Kisan Mukti Yatra’, taken out on Thursday to pay homage to the five protesting farmers killed in police firing in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district, was halted by the police and 450 persons arrested. The farmers have announced they will continue with the Yatra.
“People involved in the Yatra were arrested on charges of disrupting peace. As many as 450 persons were arrested but were let go at the Daloda mandi,” Superintendent of Police Manoj Singh told IANS.
Tight security arrangements were in place for the Yatra and police force was deployed at many places. As the police halted the march, the marchers sat on a ‘dharna’ and started criticising “the repressive ideologies of the government”. The police then started arresting them.
Communist Party of India-Marxist state unit chief Badal Saroj told IANS: “The Yatra, which began from Bhudha village, has been halted at Guddeli village. These people were going to Pipliya Mandi where the June 6 firing occurred.”
The marchers included Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan convenor V.M. Singh, Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah, CPI-M leader Subhashini Ali, Swaraj India’s Yogendra Yadav, social activist Medha Patkar and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghathan’s founder Raju Shetti, besides a large number of farmers and women.
Those arrested were detained in Daloda mandi, where a meeting was called. It was decide in this meeting that the Yatra would continue.
Patkar and Yogendra Yadav questioned the police and the government over this step, saying that they wanted to march peacefully to their destination to pay tributes to the slain farmers.
The Yatra, which began under the leadership of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, has representatives of more than 100 groups of farmers from all over the country. Their demands include loan waivers and fixing the minimum support price of the crop yield based on recommendations by the M.S. Swaminathan Committee.
“All of them carry symbolic ploughs on their shoulder while the farmers are waving green flags. Pictures of the famers killed during the agitation are also being carried,” AIKSC state chief Jaswinder Singh said.
“From Madhya Pradesh, this Yatra will go through Maharashtra and Gujarat to reach New Delhi on July 18, where tributes will be paid to the six farmers killed in Mandsaur. Soil from their native village is also being carried to Delhi,” he added.
The farmers’ protests that started in the state on June 1 for better prices for their produce and debt relief, turned violent on June 6 when five farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur and one in lathi charge.
Meanwhile, in the past 24 days, at least 42 debt-ridden farmers have committed suicide.