Sunday, 11 June 2017

With Another Death in Hospital, the Toll in Mandsaur Firing Rises to Eight

-Anurag Pathak/ 10.6.2017

Another farmer, injured in police beating during a farmer protest on June 6 in Mandsaur, has died in hospital. With this the death toll of farmers has touched up 8. While five had died on the spot on June 6, other two injured in firing, had succumbed in next two days.

The protest was organized by the local peasants agitating for debt relief and better market price of their produce. The mode of firing in cold blood leaves no corner for doubt that the orders to suppress the peasant agitation through brutal violence were issued from the top echelons of power.

Mandsaur is the district town in the western part of the state of Madhya Pradesh, ruled by the right-wing hindu supremacist Bhartya Janata Party (BJP) that has succeeded in capturing power in the state in 2013 polls, taking advantage of the sustained corrupt misrule of another right-wing party of Indian Bourgeoisie- the Congress.

Immediately after the firing, the Home Minister Bhupendra Singh persistently claimed that the police did not shoot at the crowd. “There was no firing by the police, an investigation has been launched,” the Home minister said, adding that “the bullets were shot by some anti-social elements”. Though he didn’t define who were these ‘anti-social’ elements. He also said that the bullets may have been fired from the side of protesters themselves.

In the immediate aftermath of the police firing resulting in multiple deaths, the Agricultural Minister, Radha Mohan Singh, oblivious and insensitive to the fateful incident, was located indulged in Yoga exercises with Baba Ramdev.
The statement of Home minister was forthwith contradicted by the statement of a senior official, the Commissioner of Ujjain Division, OM Jha, who uninformed of the statement of the Home Minister, told the news agency IANS, “Around 2 p.m, in order to control the agitated farmers, the police had to open fire in which two farmers died and several others were injured”. This itself was warped version of the truth.

“The police started firing to disperse the agitation without any immediate provocation by the farmers or warning from the police. Farmers were not carrying weapons” said Gajendra Tokas of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, a national farmer’s union, which had called a state-wide protest the next day.

Shamefaced, Home Minister Bhupendra Singh, backtracking later on his earlier claim on Thursday admitted that those ‘anti-social’ elements were none but the police itself. “Death of the five farmers was due to police firing. It has been established in probe. I have said earlier that the farmers may have died in police firing. I have conceded this earlier, various channels have also ran it,” Singh said adding another lie to his earlier false claim.

The Congress, finding an opportunity in peasant agitation, to regain its lost ground in Madhya Pradesh, accused the ruling party of being at ‘war’ with the farmers. This accusation however remains at loggerhead with similar past record of the Congress governments in carrying out brutal repression of the mass movements of workers and peasants throughout the country.

Stalinist CPI(M) carrying forward its legacy of restricting the opposition to bourgeois governments to dubious ‘condemnation’, keeping intact the popular adherence and faith in the bourgeois institutions, issued a statement saying “The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that adequate compensation and medical assistance be given to the families of those who died in police firing and to those who have been injured.” It added “The culprits responsible for ordering this unprovoked police firing must be suspended immediately…….and the demands of the Kisan (farmers) agitation must be conceded immediately by the state government”. This soft opposition by the Stalinists to the BJP-led repression of farmer agitation in Madhya Pradesh, finds its resonance in the equally ferocious repression on the farmers carried out by the CPM led Government of West Bengal in Singur and Nandigram towns.

In the aftermath of the police savagery killing and injuring dozens at one go, the state government was quick to suspend the internet services in sensitive parts of Madhya Pradesh that included Indore, Ujjain and Dewas. The government also imposed curfew in those regions.

Similar peasant agitations, in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu as well, go hand in hand with that in Madhya Pradesh.

The prices of essential supplies like milk and vegetables have shot upto more than 50% in major cities of Maharashtra, including the capital Mumbai and the IT hub Pune after a blockade is imposed by the agitating peasants, stopping all supplies to the cities from Thursday.  

Few weeks before, farmers from Tamil Nadu have protested in New Delhi almost for six weeks for a drought relief package. The protest had highlighted the abominable living conditions of the farmers in far southern state.

However, debt is not the only issue, backward modes of cultivation and irrigation are equally important. It is a matter of shame that even after 70 years of rule, the fate of majority of the farmers, not only of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu, but of the whole subcontinent hangs largely on rains because of the outmode irrigation facilities, that often result in crop failure.

The agrarian crisis, a cumulative result of systemic failure and policy paralysis of bourgeois regimes, is so severe that majority of the rural population lives in palpable poverty and deprivation with only nominal purchasing power. The burdens of payments to the commission agents and the farm debts, only compound this burden on the farmer.

Seven decades of the rule of Indian bourgeoisie, present the balance sheet of utter failure on agrarian front. The crisis in the agriculture has not only intensified but has acquired new and far large proportions than before. The growth of capitalism, instead of resolving the crisis, has compounded it and has added to it complex dimensions.

The closer the village is linked to the world market, the more its lifeblood is sucked out. Indian rural economy, a complex amalgam of medieval and capitalist modes, presents a landscape of extreme poverty and most backward techniques of production.

The bourgeois rule has failed and failed completely to address the agrarian question. The same remains part of the impending democratic tasks in India that await their realization into a socialist revolution led by the proletariat. The village looks at the city and the farmer for the leadership of the worker for its liberation. The worker and the city in turn find a powerful and instant lever for revolution in the rural turmoil and the rebellious peasantry. 

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