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The Shiv Sena today lashed out at the Madhya Pradesh government for preventing Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from entering trouble-hit Mandsaur, saying it is detrimental to democracy and wrong to create a wall between the Opposition leaders and "victims". The BJP constantly terms Rahul Gandhi as a "weak and an ineffective leader", the Sena pointed out and said if that was so, it had no reason to bar him from entering Mandsaur. Leaders of opposition parties have all the rights to meet the families of those affected by "government's brutality," opined an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana'. On June 6, five farmers were killed as the agitation by peasants demanding a loan waiver and remunerative prices for their produce turned violent in Mandsaur. Besides, a 26-year-old farmer had died in Badwan village, also in Mandsaur, allegedly after being beaten up by police. In the wake of the incidents, Gandhi tried to visit Mandsaur to meet the kin of the victims but was denied permission. Later, Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel was also turned back by police before he could enter Mandsaur. "First Rahul Gandhi and then Hardik Patel were stopped from meeting the families of farmers killed in police firing and were taken into custody.
This shows the grim situation prevalent in Madhya Pradesh," the editorial said. "Whenever the government engages in such brutality, our democracy gives every sensitive leader the right to meet the families of victims," it said. "It is not right to create a wall between Opposition party leaders and victims in the name of the deteriorating law and order situation," the BJP's bickering ally said. Seeking to douse the smouldering embers of the farmers' unrest, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan yesterday visited Mandsaur and presented Rs 1 crore to the kin of three of the farmers killed in police action. The Sena asked "would the skies have fallen if Gandhi was allowed to meet the families of victims?" "If the government has the right to allow firing on farmers and then compensate them, then Opposition leaders also have the right to meet the victims, understand their plight and wipe their tears," it said. Rahul Gandhi was detained by police at Nayagaon in Neemuch, while he was en route to Mandsaur to meet the kin of the six farmers, on June 8. He was accompanied by senior Congress leaders and the JD(U)'s Sharad Yadav. Farmers in Mandsaur and other places in Madhya Pradesh were on a war path since June 1, demanding a loan waiver and remunerative prices for their produce.