Wednesday, June 14, 2017

It's state-sponsored terrorism in MP, alleges civil society team: BJP govt "learnt nothing" from 1998 firing under Congress

By Our Representative
The high-level civil society delegation, which visited Madhya Pradesh for an on-the-spot inquiry into the overall situation resulting from the June 6 police firing in Mandsaur, has said that democratic rights and human rights are “at an unbelievable low” in the state, and it seems “Constitution the laws of India seem not to apply here.”
In a note prepared by it following the visit and interacting with villagers, it says, “The heinous and brutal killing of a farmer by beating and torture in the hands of police, after the gunning down of five farmers is unbelievably shocking and can only be termed state-sponsored terrorism.”
It adds, this shows the state government “has learnt no lesson from the findings of the commissions that investigated the Multai firing (on January 12, 1998) during the Congress regime, when 23 farmers were brutally gunned down.”
Wondering whether Madhya Pradesh has ceded from the Union of India, the note, pointing towards how the police and the civil administration have been keeping "strong surveillance" over farmers, says, the team was “illegally stopped from visiting Mandsaur and arrested”, despite the fact that those who formed part of it – Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh, Yogendra Yadav and Avik Saha – have had “lifelong adherence to peace and non-violence.”
The note further says, “In the agitation-free Neemuch district, police illegally prevent Yogendra Yadav, Dr. Sunilam, Avik Saha and Ajit Yadav from interacting with villagers, using sheer brute force to push them out of Madhya Pradesh into Rajasthan.”
The note says, there is “complete break-down of rule of law” and “reign of terror” prevails in the districts affected by farmers’ agitation as also surrounding locations, which were “cordoned off”.
“Independent persons and agencies were barred entry while full might of state appears to be influencing and torturing witnesses to the murder of farmers by police, causing disappearance of material evidence and running an extortion racket by intimidation”, the note alleges.
Giving reasons for this state of affairs, the note says, there is “already un-remunerative and further downward spiraling prices of all produce, despite Madhya Pradesh reporting highest agricultural growth in the country and winning prizes”, and this “seems to have lead to widespread discontent.”
Pointing out that the state government’s “inaction” in this crisis has fuelled the unrest, the note says, the situation has been worst confounded because of the “slowdown of purchasing power of traders in mandis due to demonetization.”
According to the note, “Local reports complained of extreme bureaucracy at mandis and looming threat of disentitlement of rights; e.g. compulsory registration of seller-farmers only through aadhaar, downgrading of ration entitlement under public distribution system (PDS) ration if sales above 50 quintals made”, and so on.
“Drought of two consecutive years has severely depleted the farmers and have led to the 4th highest farmers’ suicides in the country in 2015”, the note says, adding, “With added pressure of loan repayment and almost 50% price fall in produce, farmers have reached the end of their tether”.

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