Three killed after farmers clash over crop prices in India
June 06 2017 06:12 PM
People throwing vegetables on a road during their nation-wide strike and agitation over various dema
People throwing vegetables on a road during their nation-wide strike and agitation over various demands in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, on Sunday. Picture courtesy: PTI

AFP/New Delhi

At least three people were killed Tuesday after clashes broke out in central India between police and farmers demanding higher prices for produce and forgiveness of loans.
Police said hundreds of farmers torched vehicles and fired at riot police in the Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh state.
"Someone from the crowd fired at our men and they retaliated. It is unclear whether they died from police bullets or the attackers," regional police chief Avinash Sharma told AFP.
Sharma said many people including policemen were injured in the clashes after protesters set ablaze half a dozen vehicles and tried to damage a railway.
Authorities imposed a curfew and cut off mobile internet services in the district and adjoining areas to prevent violence from spreading to other parts of the state.
Thousands of farmers are protesting in the drought-ravaged region, calling for higher prices for their crops and dairy products and a waiver of loans.
Television footage showed them throwing thousands of litres of milk and sacks of onions, the main crop in the region, onto the roads.
"We want an increase in the crop prices and if the government can waive loans of industrialists why can't it help poor farmers?" Sunil Gaur, spokesman of the Rashtriya Kishan Mazdoor Sangh, a farmers' body spearheading the agitation, told AFP.
The body has called for a statewide strike on Wednesday in protest at the killings.
Madhya Pradesh is one of several states that have suffered dismal rains and crop failures in recent years.
More than 1,600 farmers killed themselves in the state in 2016, according to official figures, mostly due to crop failure or debt.
Farmers in neighbouring Maharashtra state are also protesting over similar demands and have stopped vegetable and dairy supplies to urban areas.



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