Farmers Allegedly Stripped, Beaten by MP Cops, NHRC Issues Notices
Photos of farmers allegedly waiting at a police station wearing nothing but their underwear surfaced on Twitter.
A group of farmers were allegedly detained, stripped and beaten up by the police in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday 3 October.
The incident allegedly took place when the farmers were returning from a protest that sought drought-hit status for the Tikamgarh district, which has received scanty rainfall this year.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh. It has also sought a report probing the matter within four weeks.
Photos and videos showing farmers purportedly waiting at a police station wearing nothing but their underwear surfaced on social media, and triggered outrage.
Here are some doing the rounds on Twitter:
The Congress accused the Madhya Pradesh government of suppressing the voice of farmers, even as Home Minister Bhupendra Singh asked the police chief to conduct an inquiry and file a report within three days.
The charges levelled by the Congress were denied by the BJP government.
The farmers’ protest had been organised by the Congress outside the Tikamgarh collectorate.
‘Dehumanising the Sons of Soil Who Feed Us’: Rahul Gandhi
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi referred to the incident in his tweets:
Congress leader and former minister Yadvendra Singh said the police detained some of the protesters returning home, as well as some farmers just passing by who had nothing to do with the protest.
They were kept at the Dehat police station, stripped and severely beaten up by the police.Yadvendra Singh, Congress Leader
In Bhopal, however, state Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said, "No farmer was beaten up in the police station."
But he added the government has taken such reports seriously and asked the director general of police to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of stripping and beating up of farmers and submit a report within three days.
"It is a matter of investigation if the farmers took off their clothes themselves or police did so," he told a press meet.
The Home Minister said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has taken a serious note of the matter and strict action would be taken against the erring officials, if they are found guilty in the inquiry report.
He also said the government was in the process of identifying drought-hit areas in the state, and the district collectors are conducting surveys in this regard.
MP Govt and District Collector Deny Farmers Were Beaten up
Tikamgarh district collector Abhijeet Agrawal also denied reports of farmers being beaten up at the police station.
Agrawal said he had seen images of farmers in the media related to the alleged incident, but it was a matter of investigation if they took off their clothes on their own or were stripped by the police.
Meanwhile, Dehat police station in-charge RP Chowdhary said he did not know who asked the farmers to be detained as he was on the field duty.
By the time I reached (the police station) they had been released. I don’t know if the farmers, who were around 25 in numbers, took off the clothes on their own or were stripped.Dehat police station in-charge RP Chowdhary
Police also said they have registered cases against some 1,000 unidentified persons in connection with the violence during the protest in Tikamgarh yesterday before the farmers were returning home.
Around 25 Congress workers were injured when they clashed with the police on the premises of the district collectorate.
The district collector had said the police resorted to cane-charge in self-defence after the Congress workers hurled stones and bottles at them. He said eight police personnel were also injured in the incident.
Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said senior leaders of the party, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath, have condemned the incident.
Chaturvedi quoted Scindia as saying that the police cane-charged and used tear gas shells at a peaceful protest staged by farmers and Congress workers.
He (Jyotiraditya Scindia) said the state government is suppressing the voice of farmers, who were stripped and beaten in the police lock-up. (Kamal) Nath said that (Shivraj Singh) Chouhan, who claimed to be the son of a farmer, has surpassed the Britishers in oppression against farmers.Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi
(With inputs from PTI)
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