Farmers stood up for basic rights, were shot at, six died: Mandsaur, MP, 2017

All India KisanSangharsh Coordination Committee honours martyred farmers, demanded loan waivers and fair prices once again, aise the slogan: “KarzaMukti, PooraDaam”


On June 6, 2017, six farmers, KanhaiyaLalPatidar, SatyanarayanDhangar, AbhishekPatidar, BabluPatidar, GhanshyamDhakad, ChintamanPatidar of Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh  were killed, allegedly by the local police. The police are alleged to have fired upon farmers who were demanding fair prices in the drought-ravaged region of central India. Apart from those killed, many others were injured. Initially, the ShivarajChouhan government had even denied the deaths, stated a news report in Hindustan Times, on that day.

All that the farmers wanted was a fair price for the crops. They got bullets in return. Three years have passed, and the demands have remained the same. A year after the violence, the policemen accused of firing at unarmed farmers were handed  a “clean chit” by the commission appointed by the Madhya Pradesh government. The commission had been set up to investigate the incident, including the firing by the state’s policemen and jawans from the Central Reserve Police Force. According to a report g over a demand for better crop prices as well as loan waivers.

The incident had put the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in the dock politically, reported India today, and hence the retired high court justice JK Jain was appointed to lead a probe into the police firing. The commission eventually concluded that “the police and the CRPF were not to blame for the incident as they were forced to open fire,” stated the news report. It was reported by commission to the state government that: “the cops were forced to open fire after a mob armed with rods and petrol bombs was about to lynch police constables.”

Around the same time in 2017, a “ChaloMandsaur” call had been given in solidarity with the farmers of Madhya Pradesh. Delegations representing several farmer organisations, civil society activists had visited Mandsaurfollowing a call given by Jai KisanAndonlan of SwarajAbhiyan, NAPM, KisanSangharshSamiti of MP, BandhuaMuktiMorcha and others.

The delegation included Ms.MedhaPatkar, Swami Agnivesh, Dr.Sunilam, ParasSaklecha, KalpanaParulekar, AvikSaha, Ajit Singh, Balakrishnan and YogendraYadav. Some of the key observations they reported then were that there was a “nightmarish situation” where law and order, legal and human rights, were concerned. They had observed that democratic and human rights were at an “unbelievable low in MP”. The delegation had interacted with farmer leaders and activists and found a “complete break-down of rule of law”; it had reported a “reign of terror as Districts affected by and surrounding locations of farmers agitation cordoned off and jungle law implemented.”

A KisanMuktiYatra (Farmers Freedom March) had also started from Mandaur on July 6 2017, towards JantarMantar in New Delhi to press their demands of “waiver of all loans to farmers, fair price for farm produce.”

As expected the Mandsaur violence was fodder for a political face off  between national-level opposition parties and the ruling BharatiyaJanata Party. The basic demands of the farmers remained a talking point only. It is now 2020, and the farmers are yet to get a fair hearing for their demand for loan waiver and fair prices.

This year, the All India KisanSangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has called upon all units to observe June 6 as a day to honour the six martyrs of Mandsaur, who they alledgewer  “killed by RSS-BJP govt in 2017”, they have also demanded loan waiver and full prices for farmers and raised the slogan: “KarzaMukti, PooraDaam”.

All India KisanSangharsh Coordination Committee a pan-Indian collective, now of around 250 farmers’ organisations and was formed when 130 farmers’ organisation came together after the death of six farmers, in alleged police firing in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh on June 6, 2017.

The AIKSCC states that “BJP govt chose to shoot at and kill the farmers at the behest of big private procurers. Peasantry was protesting low rates of onion, lahsoon, cumin seeds, wheat and a number of other crops and the government had failed to ensure purchase at MSP and to give compensatory bhavantar rates. This led to sale prices dropping below the cost of production.”

The Committee has also been critical of the recent decisions of the Union government to “wind up APMC Act, to begin eNAM networking, of allowing inter state sale, of inviting huge MNCs and big Indian Corporates to source crops from fields.” They say this move of allowing them to start “contract farming with farmer companies and farm aggregators will spell further doom for Indian peasantry.”

As the government monitored wholesale markets (mandis) wind up, the farmers will not get the benefit of govt procurement and assured rates states AIKSCC. Instead, “they will be subjected to the diktats of the big purchasers who will negotiate on the strength of eNAM rates to lower the prices in all areas. It is the peasant who is saddled with his harvested crop, who cannot afford to either not sell and store it nor to take it to other mandis who will be squeezed.”

The statement, signed by AIKSCC president V Venkatramaiah, general secretary Dr AshishMital and members of the working group, alleges that moves such as farming contracts and presence of local toughs as aggregators of land for sowing and crops for sale, will “drastically reduce the capacity of small peasants, landless sharecroppers and farm labour to negotiate and earn their livelihood.”

The AIKSCC alleged that the “RSS –BJP govt is wedded to the interests of big companies and imperialist powers. The Mandsaur firing and killing of 6 farmers and these decisions highlight its intent to further damage self reliance, aatmnirbharta of Indian farmers.” They have called for a peaceful protest to  be held on these issues, tomorrow in all rural centres of the country.

These long pending, basic demands await a response from those in power, even as farmers continue to suffer across the country, as they battle multiple challenges, and struggle for survival in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic induced economic crisis. The most recent challenge has been thrown by the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020. Trade unions have called it’ hasty and beneficial to a handful of big landlords and corporate agri-business.” 



CITU denounces ‘Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020’

Wheat procurement soars despite Covid-19, but challenges remain for farmers

Ground Report Assam: Covid-19 leads to mass starvation as water-starved farm lands run dry

MPs should bow before farmers at JantarMantar, pay homage to the Mandsaur ‘martyrs’, support farmers demands

Anarchy Rules in MP after Police Firing & Torture: People’s Movements



Related Articles