Civil society members and leaders of opposition parties on Tuesday dubbed the killing of five farmers in police firing in Madhya Pradesh "murder by state machinery" and demanded an inquiry by a sitting High Court Judge.
A delegation comprising social activists Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh, Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav and politicians Kalpana Parulekar of the Congress, and Paras Saklecha of the Aam Adami Party was detained at Dhodhar in neighbouring Ratlam district when it tried to visit Mandsaur to meet the kin of the farmers killed in the June 6 police firing.
The Madhya Pradesh government had on Monday appointed a one-member judicial commission of Justice JK Jain (retd) to probe the police firing. The commission has been mandated to submit its report within three months.
"Independent persons and agencies are denied entry while the full might of the state appears to be influencing and torturing witnesses to the murder of farmers by police, causing disappearance of material evidence and running an extortion racket by intimidation," a statement issued by the delegation members said.
They demanded that all civil and police officials responsible for the firing should be booked and cases against protesting farmers withdrawn.
They said the government's failure in ensuring adequate remuneration for agricultural produce seemed to be the reason for the widespread discontent among Madhaya Pradesh farmers and the state government's inaction has further fuelled the unrest.
A 'Shaheed Kisan Mahapanchayat' will be held in Madhya Pradesh on July 6 to support the farmers' protests across the country, the delegation members said.
A plan is also afoot to set up a people's tribunal on police firing and alleged torture of farmers at Mandsaur.