As many as 70 farmers travelling from Karnataka for the 'Dilli Chalo' protest march were detained by the government railway police (GRP) at Bhopal railway station in Madhya Pradesh on Monday, February 12. These farmers, traveling on a Sampark Kranti Express train, were deboarded from the train during the early hours of the day and detained by the authorities. Farmers from various parts of Karnataka, including Mysuru, commenced their journey towards Delhi on Saturday, under the leadership of Kurubur Shanthakumar, who leads both the Federation of Karnataka State Farmers Associations and the State Sugarcane Growers Association, in solidarity with the farmers’ agitation led by organisations in Haryana and Punjab.
According to reports, Padma Shanthakumar, the wife of Kurubur Shanthakumar, sustained head injuries during the police intervention. The farmers had planned to participate in the 'Delhi Chalo' rally organised by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha in Delhi on February 13, aiming to articulate the grievances of farmers nationwide. The rally aimed at advocating for the implementation of laws guaranteeing a minimum support price for agricultural produce, the complete waiver of farm loans, and the introduction of a pension scheme for farmers aged 60 and above, among other demands.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah condemned the detention and demanded the immediate release of the farmers. “I demand that the Madhya Pradesh government immediately release all the farmers from our State and allow them to participate in the protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Tuesday,” he said.
“It is the government of Madhya Pradesh that has made the arrests, it is clear that the criminal mind behind this act is the Union BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
He further said, “If the Union government truly cares about peace and order, it should immediately meet the demands of the farmers and resolve the issue, rather than repressing and brutalising them to silence.”