Vol. XLIII No. 14 April 07, 2019
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AIKS Team Meets Families of Farmers Killed in Mandsaur Police Firing

AN All India Kisan Sabha team visited Mandsaur on June 14 and met the families of farmers killed in police firing. They met the families of two martyrs Chain Ram Patidar (aged 23 years) at Nayakheda village in Neemuch district and Abhishek Patidar (aged 17 years) at Barkheda Panth in Mandsaur district and conveyed their condolences. The team met farmers and expressed solidarity with their struggle. Farmers explained their situation and said that unprovoked firing was with an intention to kill. Most of the injuries were above the waist, on the chest, head etc. They also explained the extreme brutalities inflicted on them by the police including on women, the aged and children.

The team found a situation of acute distress in the region as prices of most crops have crashed and are about 60 per cent below the prices of last year. Demonetisation led to this crash and faulty policies like import of wheat and pulses while there was a good harvest here further led to fall in prices. Soyabean which fetched Rs 5,000-6,000 per quintal last year is getting only Rs 2,200-2,400 per quintal. Chana which fetched upto Rs 9,000-10,000 per quintal is getting only Rs 4,000 per quintal. Similarly best quality wheat is fetching only Rs 1,200 per quintal which is way below the MSP of Rs 1,625 per quintal. Last year it ranged between Rs 1,900-2,000 per quintal. The government purchased at MSP only for three months and not throughout. The import of wheat at zero import duty only added to the woes. Garlic prices fell from Rs 13,000 to Rs 1,000 per quintal, methi from Rs 9,000-10,000 per quintal is now ranging between Rs 2,200-3,000 per quintal only. Post demonetization, traders are paying two per cent lesser for cash transactions. In this period, input costs have increased manifold. Both the farmers the team met were small farmers with one owning less than an acre and the other owning about 10 acres jointly with members of the family. The team also found bags of the best quality of garlic with a farmer unsold because it is not fetching even Rs 10 per kg while the cost of cultivation is around Rs 30 per kg. The BJP government has not done anything to stabilise prices and assure farmers of remunerative prices.

The state government officials have not visited the families of victims. Local MP, MLA and minister who passed through the area did not even pay a courtesy visit. Heavy police deployment in the entire region and intimidation of farmers with threat of cases was also reported. The farmers reported that police were claiming there were FIRs against 574 people and seeking bribe from them on the pretext of removing their names from the list. It is also reported that the collector has said it is impossible to pay the Rs One crore compensation to families of dead which was announced by the chief minister.

AIKS has demanded that the assured compensation of Rs One crore must be given to all families through a cabinet decision. Government job must be given to at least one adult member of the families of each of the farmer killed as well as payment of education expenses of their children must be ensured. All cases foisted on farmers must be withdrawn forthwith and immediate talks to address the genuine demands of the farmers must be announced including fixing MSP at 50 per cent above cost of production and comprehensive loan waiver to the peasantry.   

The AIKS team comprised its general secretary Hannan Mollah, president Amra Ram, CPI(M) member of parliament, Somaprasad, joint secretary Vijoo Krishnan, finance secretary Krishnaprasad, Rajasthan Kisan Sabha joint secretary Gurcharan Singh Mour and Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sabha president Jaswinder Singh.