Five killed as MP farmers stir turns violent; mobile internet in Mandsaur suspended

At last five people were killed in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh when an opposition-supported farmers agitation demanding higher minimum support prices turned violent on Tuesday, prompting authorities to clamp curfew in the area.

Some eyewitnesses alleged that the victims died of bullet wounds, but Mandsaur district authorities denied that police fired on the rampaging protesters.

Eyewitnesses said protesting farmers torched vehicles and indulged in stone pelting in Parshvanath area under Pipaliya Mandi police station limits of the district.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced Rs1 crore compensation for the dead. He also blamed the opposition Congress party for instigating the violence.

And, as tension prevailed, authorities suspended mobile internet service in Mandsaur, Ratlam and Neemuch districts since morning to check spread of rumours.

Mandsaur collector SK Singh confirmed death of five persons and said a magisterial inquiry has been ordered. Singh, however, said there was no firing on protestors.

"Police have told me that neither did they fire nor did they have any orders to fire," Singh added.

In-camera autopsy of bodies was going on and the cause of death will be known after it, the collector said, adding that families of the deceased will get financial aid.

Curfew has been imposed in Pipalya Mandi police station area of Mandsaur district where the incident took place, while prohibitory orders restricting movement under section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in rest of the district, the collector said.

The Congress, meanwhile, called for a bandh today.

MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan accused the Congress party of conspiring to foment violence.

Farmers in western Madhya Pradesh are protesting since June one demanding higher minimum support prices (MSP) among others.

In Ratlam, the district collector Ashok Bhargava imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC following the violence in neighbouring Mandsaur district.

Ratlam superintendent of police Amit Singh announced a reward of Rs10,000 each for information about absconding farmer leaders D P Dhakad, Rajesh Bharava, Bhagwati Patidar (said to be Congress members) and others who were allegedly involved in violence in the district on Sunday in which two police personnel had been injured.

Meanwhile, the state Congress and the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh have given a call for bandh tomorrow across the state to protest the farmers' death in Mandsaur.

A similar opposition-sponsored stir is underway in Maharashtra, where vegetables and fruits have become costly.