While an improvement in the situation led to a day-long curfew relaxation in Madhya Pradesh’s violence-hit Mandsaur and Pipliamandi, police officials have said that they will not allow Aam Aadmi Party leaders who plan to enter the restive region.
Addressing a joint press conference along with the collector, SP Manoj Kumar Singh said prohibitory orders are in place in the entire district and the entry of outsiders is restricted.
AAP leaders including Bhagwant Mann, Ashutosh and Sanjay Singh are planning to visit the district that was hit by farmers’ agitation after five were shot dead in police firing. The SP said the AAP leaders will be arrested if they try to enter the district.
He said anti-social elements were involved in the breach of peace in the district and 156 persons have been arrested so far in connection with cases of arson and vandalism.
“We are with the farmers but will take action against those who resort to violence. Anti-social elements were involved in violence,” he said.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, along with party leaders Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, visited Mandsaur on Thursday. Before reaching the region, the Congress leader was stopped on his way by the police and later detained. After his release, Gandhi visited the families of farmers who were killed by police firing.
To a question, the SP said the postmortem report of two of the five farmers killed in the agitation has found that they were killed by bullets fired from an Insas rifle. The postmortem report of the other three farmers is awaited. Collector O P Srivastava said the situation has improved and no untoward incident has been reported.
ATMs have started functioning and supplies of milk and vegetables has improved, he said, adding that restoration of Internet services would take time.
The administration is making a report on the number of vehicles and shops burnt down during the agitation and compensation will be given after thorough checks.
Mandsaur, the epicentre of the agitation, has remained relatively peaceful even as farmer protests have spilled over to new areas of Madhya Pradesh. Incidents of arson were reported from Shajapur and Dhar districts in western part of the state yesterday as the agitation for loan waiver and better crop price continued.
Police fired teargas and lathicharged a stone-pelting mob near the local market in Shajapur yesterday.
Following the incident, prohibitory orders were imposed in Shajapur town under Section 144 of the CrPC. The agitation has also spread to Chhindwara district in Mahakoshal region of the state. The Centre had rushed 1,100 personnel of the RAF to the violence-hit state.
While two companies of the RAF, each comprising 100 personnel, were deployed in Pipliamandi in Mandsaur, where the five farmers were killed, another two were posted in Garoth.
Two RAF companies were deployed along the highway. Contingents of the CRPF have also been deployed. At least 56 people have been arrested and over 100 detained in connection with violence during the farmers agitation here.
In a report to the Centre, the state’s Home Ministry said that the five farmers had been killed in police firing. The development assumes significance as authorities had earlier claimed the police did not fire during the protests.
To bring back normalcy, the Chief Minister had made a fresh attempt to reach out to the agitating farmers, saying the state government was open for a dialogue to iron out the differences and once again appealed to them to maintain peace.