The tension prevailing in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur District post the clashes between farmers and the police led the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday to denounce the Centre and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as 'anti-farmer'.
Asserting that the farmers' demands are genuine and should be met, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh as well as the Centre was not only neglecting farmers, but also persecuting them and pushing them towards committing suicide.
Yechury called on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and his government to nab the culprits and bring them to book.
"According to our report, death toll in Mandsaur has reached six and there are many more farmers that are very grievously injured. The state government has actually prohibited the use of any internet or WiFi access to control the flow of information and they are fabricating all sorts of news. The Issue is very clear, the farmers were on a very peaceful protest, they are demanding what the government itself promised, that is the loan waiver and the minimum support price etc," he added.
"It is the irony of our times that today you find a full page advertisement of Prime Minister Modi and all the great things he has done for Indian agriculture. Whereas, in real, we can see the state of our farmers. We demand that culprits must be brought to book immediately, adequate compensation should be given and the demands of the farmers should be met," he added.
Expressing similar sentiments, Congress leader P.C. Chacko also averred that under Prime Minister Modi's rule, farmers are being blatantly ignored and their demands not being attended to.
"After Maharashtra, it is now Madhya Pradesh. The farmers are the most neglected lot of the country in the regime of Narendra Modi. Now, the farmers are asking for a loan waiver also; they are asking for minimum support price, and many of their demands are really genuine demands," said Chacko.
"Neither the state government nor the Central Government is attending to the farmers demands. So, it is spreading from one state to another; that means the entire farming community in the whole country is against the anti-farmer policy of the Modi government," he added.
The protest in Mandsaur took an ugly turn earlier in the day as the protesting farmers scuffled with the Mandsaur Collector and chased the officer and his staff away.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had blamed the Congress Party for a "conspiracy to fuel violence" in Mandsaur, but the Congress asked his government to honour the 'martyred' farmers.
Chouhan has apprised Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah of the situation in Mandsaur over phone.
Appealing for peace to the agitating farmers in the state, Chouhan announced a compensation of Rs. one crore to the kin of those killed and Rs. five lakh for those injured in the Mandsaur violence.
Several others were injured in the firing by security forces yesterday, as farmers intensified their agitation demanding fair price and loan waiver.
Internet services in Mandsaur, Ratlam and Ujjain remain suspended following the farmers' protests, and a curfew has also reportedly been imposed.
The farmers in the central state are demanding remunerative prices for their produce and a loan waiver. They are also demanding that they should be given Rs. 50 per litre of milk bought from them as they spend Rs. 37 per litre.
The killing of the farmers came hours after Mandsaur collector Swatantra Kumar Singh claimed all was well in the district and that the situation was under control.