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Activists Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar, Agnivesh barred from meeting Mandsaur "farmer-martyrs", court arrest

Yogendra Yadav
By Our Representative
A senior social activists’ and concerned citizens’ team, which visited Madhya Pradesh for a condolence meeting of the brutal attack on farmers, was denied permission by the Madhya Pradesh government to meet the families of those who died in the recent Mandsaur violence.
The team, consisting of Yogendra Yadav, Swami Agnivesh, Dr Sunilam, Mohit Pandey, Medha Patkar, Ramnarayan Kureria and others, held a condolence meeting at Ratlam, and then proceeded to Mandsaur district, where it was stopped by a huge police contingent at Dodal, led by ASP Deepak Kumar Sharma and SDM R P Verma.
Refusing to hand over copy of the order for not allowing the team to enter Mandsaur, the authorities referred to Section 144, prohibiting more than four persons to gather at one place, as the reason behind the refusal to allow the team and its supporters to meet farmer-victims.
Women police were brought to stop everyone. Team members strongly protested calling the effort to stop the team to enter into Mandsaur as “undemocratic and unjustifiable”, adding Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had already announced that there was peace in Mandsaur and curfew had been withdrawn.
The team carried with it small pots filled with soil from various states and wanted to present these, along with Samman Patra, to the families of martyrs’ families. On being shown, the officials expressed helplessness, referring to the order of higher authorities. Deciding to return to reach out to the oppressed families later, the team courted arrest.
In a statement, the team said, “The chief minister instead of doing undertaking fast and resting in Bhopal, should have reached the houses of the farmers who were killed and wounded by the state police.”
It added, “Non-violent activists could not be a cause of creating any law and order problem while the state itself was responsible for breaching the law and unleashing violence against the farmers.”
Pointing out that repression is still on, the statement said, the intimidation tactics continue to “kill the movement”, by filing 57 cases, some under Section 307, even as arresting 13 persons. “At least 250 are wounded and some are declared as absconding”, the statement says, adding, “They have filed cases under various sections against them.”
Calling it a “challenge before the farmers’ movement for saving agriculture and agriculturists”, the statement says, “The state needs to change its attitude and clearly take a position of no violence but a dialogue to settle the issues that are national and critical.”
Demanding that the farmers be given “freedom from debt from all public lending institutions and illegal private money lenders”, the team sought “optimum minimum support price based on the Swaminathan report recommendations (price to be 1.5 times the cost inputs), pension to all farmers and farm labourers, and priority in the distribution and redistribution of water and power.”
The team also demanded constitution of farmers’ income commission at the national level and impartial investigation committee under the chairmanship of the High Court judge to inquire into the killings repression and victimization of farmers.

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