The government of India deployed 1000 paramilitary troops in the Mandsaur region of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, June 8, to quell growing riots over the deaths of five protesting farmers who were confirmed to have been shot dead by police on Tuesday, June 6. A curfew was imposed and internet and mobile phone services were reportedly suspended in the region after rioters set buses and trucks on fire; police arrested 62 farmers during the riots. Further protests are likely in the coming days and additional violence cannot be ruled out.
On June 6, five farmers were shot dead during protests in Mandsaur. Despite early denials by officials, the government has since admitted that police officers killed the protesters and offered financial compensation to the victims’ families.
The protests in the region began after farmers in Uttar Pradesh had their debts canceled by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Farmers in Madhya Pradesh and other states are calling for a similar debt waiver and price controls for their produce.
On Thursday, June 1, farmers in neighboring Maharashtra started an indefinite strike after negotiations over similar loan waivers failed. Protesters prevented produce trucks from transporting fruits, vegetables, and milk to major cities in the country, with some demonstrators also dumping milk and produce onto the roads. Food prices have also reportedly increased and shortages in major cities such as Mumbai, Pune, and Thane are possible.
Around 66 percent of India's population is connected to the farming industry, yet only about 14 percent of total gross domestic product comes from the farming sector.
Individuals present in India are advised to monitor the situation and to stay away from all demonstrations.
As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against nonessential travel to the west of Jammu and Kashmir state and against all travel to the border region with Pakistan (direct vicinity of the Line of Control) due to the high threat of terrorism.