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|May 22, 1998||
Frame policy to end farmers's woes: former PMs
Four former prime ministers, leaders of political parties and several eminents citizens today stressed the need to immediately formulate a comprehensive policy on agriculture in the wake of suicides by farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
They also demanded an inquiry by a high court judge into the police firing on agitating farmers in Multai tehsil of Madhya Pradesh. The firing had left 24 people dead and over 150 injured.
Former prime minister -- V P Singh, Chandra Shekhar, Inder Kumar Gujral and H D Deve Gowda -- distinguished citizens including Kuldip Nayar, Justice (retired) V M Tarkunde, Medha Patkar, Justice (retired) V K Krishna Iyer, Justice Rajinder Sachar and political leaders Sharad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan and D Raja issued a joint appeal urging people's support for the cause of the farmers.
They also took strong exception to the 'registration of as many as 48 false cases' against Dr Sunilam, leader of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, fighting for the cause of the farmers of Multai tehsil, and demanded the withdrawal of the cases, as promised by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh.
They expressed anguish that instead of providing relief for the destroyed and damaged crops, the Madhya Pradesh government had chosen to harass and intimidate farmers by implicating them in false criminal cases.
They appealed to the chief minister to 'see reason' and stop 'intimidation' of the Multai farmers and that adequate relief be disbursed and compensation given to the families of those killed.
An employment assurance scheme should also be implemented to provide relief to the affected families, they suggested.
They also called for crop insurance and crop damage compensation for the affected farmers.
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