20 dead, 10 injured in a fire at cracker factory in MP

The death of five farmers in police firing in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur and the violent agrarian agitation in Maharashtra has the BJP rank and file anxious as both incidents have happened in states where the party is in power at a time the organisation is trying to aggressively woo the community. Curfew was clamped in Mandsaur and Pipliamandi as a precaution.

Irrespective of the investigation, it must be acknowledged that the onus of ensuring peace, the safety of protesters and the general public lies with the police.

Meanwhile, under pressure from various quarters over the incident, MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had already spoken about the incident on Tuesday and condemned it.

The road connecting Mandsaur and Neemuch remained out of bounds for most part of the day with protesters torching more vehicles and a warehouse.

The BJP government kept denying any police firing and only in the during the evening did they confirm that 6 people have died.

Ujjain divisional commissioner O M Jha said the police had to open fire to control stone-throwing mobs.

The agitating farmers set afire cars parked in the compound of a mechanic and ransacked the shop of a dairy merchant.

Confirming the deaths, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh Chairman Shivkumar Sharma identified them as Bablu Patidar, Sarender Patidar, Kanhaiya, Satyanarayan, and Akhilesh, a college student. "I can not recall such a massacre", Yadav said of the farmers' deaths. "Whatever the condition of farmers across the country is because of the long years of neglect of the agricultural sector by you (Congress)", he said. Attempts were also made to break into a district cooperative bank, but the attackers were pushed back by the police.

Confirming the turn of events, Nandkumar Singh Chouhan, the BJP state chief in Bhopal, said,"Shots were fired by the administration, as far as I know". "After all, they do not decide what price should be paid to the farmers for their crop", BJP VP and farmer leader Satya Pal Malik told ET. They also burnt down several vehicles including seven buses and a state-owned medical van.

Riots broke out in Pipliamandi on Monday night when farmers damaged railway tracks and railway crossing gates in Mandsaur.

At least seven farmers were also wounded in the police firing. The state's Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also accused the opposition Indian National Congress party for inciting violence.

Exuding confidence that the Congress will come to power in the 2019 elections in Telangana, he said their party would implement the loan waiver scheme for farmers, under which Rs 2 lakh debt of each cultivator would be written-off.

  • Zachary Reyes