Five Youth Congress members were arrested in Odisha on Saturday for hurling eggs at Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh’s vehicle to protest against the death of five farmers in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district. The activists also waved black flags when Singh left the state guesthouse to attend a programme in Jatani.
Those arrested included Youth Congress State President Loknath Maharathy. “Radha Mohan Singh has no moral right to remain in-charge of agriculture ministry after the killing of farmers in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh,” Maharathy had said before being taken into custody, according to The Hindu.
The protest against Singh comes two days after he attended an event organised by Ramdev and had asked the protesting farmers in Madhya Pradesh to practice yoga. Farmers in Madhya Pradesh have been protesting for more than week. At least five of them were killed in Mandsaur when police fired in an effort to quell the protests. On Friday, residents of the Badavan village alleged that one more farmer had died after an assault by police officials.
The Bharatiya Janata Party condemned the incident and blamed the state government for it. “I suspect the egg were hurled at the instance of the ruling BJD [Biju Janata Dal],” said Odisha BJP leader Arun Singh, reported NDTV. Another party leader, Bhrugu Buxipatra, said it was the state government’s responsibility to provide security to the visiting minister. Singh, on the other hand, said he saw no protest. “I only saw BJP flags all around,” he said, according to The Times of India.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Pradeep Majhi defended the protest. “The union government needs to know the sentiment of the people,” he said, according to NDTV.