Mandsaur violence: Farmers turn to human rights body for justice

Pan-India association of farmers approach National Human Rights Commission to seek answers and justice for police firing that killed 5 in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh

Five people were killed in the police firing in Mandsaur on June 6. File pic
Five people were killed in the police firing in Mandsaur on June 6. File pic

Agitating farmers have now knocked on the doors of the National Human Rights Commission, seeking justice for their brethren killed in the police firing at Mandsaur on June 6.

The petition was filed yesterday by Shiv Kumar Sharma, general secretary of Rashtriya Kisan Mahashangha, which is tied to 62 farmers' associations all over India. Interestingly, the committee has used mid-day's reports to further support their demands for a high-level fact-finding committee to investigate the police firing that killed five farmers.

Binod Anand, president (Delhi) of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, said, "On Tuesday evening, they met NHRC registrar Ashok Kumar Koul and he accepted our plea, with an assurance that the matter would be discussed with the concerned committee members at NHRC and, accordingly, a decision would be taken."

'Death of democracy'
"Prima facie, even NHRC officials admitted that the incident should not have happened at all. We have all rights to peaceful protest as we are registered under the Trade Union Act. It is a murder of democracy.

Perhaps in the same way in late '70s, democracy was murdered, which resulted in the Bihar Aandolan," Binod added, referring to the movement initiated by students in Bihar in 1974, against misrule and corruption.

The petition submitted to NHRC reads, "We are a confederation of 62 farmer organisations, named the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh. We had a peaceful protest. Unfortunately, our farmer brothers were murdered in Madhya Pradesh, Mandsaur. Six farmer brothers were killed in two incidents of police firing during the protest on June 6. We believe it was murder, as the firing was done at point blank range by state police. Various media reports are a testimony of this."

The protestors are also upset that while the police had managed to register over 45 FIRs against the farmers' protest, not a single FIR has been lodged in the police firing case yet.

A senior officer from the MP police said, "We have to wait for the judicial probe to get over, and only on the basis of the fact-finding report, will further decision be taken."

mid-day reports used
This paper's June 9 report, 'All bullet wounds were above waist', had pointed out that the injuries to the victims were all above the waist, raising questions about whether the CRPF shot to kill, instead of in self-defence. The petition also carried another June 10 report, 'Did MP police cover up custodial death?'

"We found it was a detailed story, quoting doctors and officials who were directly treating the injured farmers or had done the autopsies. The story also had quotes of senior police officials from MP, who were shifting the blame to paramilitary forces," said Binod.

Compensation
Reacting to the collector's announcement that instead of the promised R1 crore, the farmers' families would receive only R10 lakh in compensation, Binod Anand, president (Delhi) of Rastriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, said, "We condemn this move of the MP government. This is like rubbing salt on the poor farmers' injury."

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