On March 8, a farmer in Maharashtra’s Maharashtra State witnessed a farmer from Kutchamangalam village, in Rajasthan’s Bhavnagar district, being beaten up by a mob for selling his crop.
He was reportedly selling a single banana for Rs 1,000 to the mob.
The victim, who is not named in the FIR, said that he was in a market selling bananas to a nearby shop, and asked the shopkeeper to buy the banana for him.
The shopkeeper refused to sell the banana, the FIR said.
“I refused to take the banana and took a break.
I saw the man being beaten.
I ran and came to the spot,” he told The Times Of India.
He said that as he was walking away, the man caught his eyes and grabbed him by the neck and dragged him to a place where a man was beating him up.
“He beat me for about 30-40 seconds and slapped me repeatedly on my face and chest, and then he threw me into the sea.
The man then took the banana out of my hands and threw it on the ground.
I was bleeding profusely,” he said.
The man then threw the banana on the floor and fled, the complaint said.
A few minutes later, the mob gathered in the vicinity and started beating up the victim, the complainant alleged.
“They threw me on the street and started attacking me.
I got away and ran home.
I had already told my parents, but they never came to know about the incident,” he added.
A week later, in a similar case, a local farmer in a village in Haryana’s Kanchi district saw a mob beating up a farmer selling his crops.
He had not sold the fruit for three months, but a man, identified as Nandu, approached him and offered to sell him a banana for about Rs 3,000.
Nandu said that the man told him that he had lost his crop in the storm, and was selling it in the market.
“At first, I thought the man was selling some other crops like peas, onions, tomatoes and even corn.
I gave him my money and said I would not sell my crop.
I left my house after selling the fruit,” he alleged.
A week later the mob came and attacked the farmer and his wife.
The FIR said that Nandus family had been selling their crop in a field in front of their house for three years.
Nandraj Kaur, spokesperson of the Maharashtra Government of Chief Ministers (CGMM), told The Hindu that farmers have been threatened and beaten up on a regular basis in the state for selling their crops in the past.
“Every time we get an FIR, the authorities have to intervene.
But what is happening in Harkeshpur is an alarming case.
In most of the cases, farmers who sell their crops for profit have not been taken to court,” she said.
She said that in this case, the farmer had been arrested after he failed to produce any crop for his family for three days.
“We have written to the state government for its intervention and are looking at possible legal action.
It would be better if the case is reported to the CGMM,” she added.
In a separate incident, a group of farmers from the neighbouring town of Laxmi in Odisha’s Odisha state were allegedly beaten up for selling a field for Rs 6,000 in March.
In an FIR filed by the village collector, the villagers alleged that the local farmer, who has not sold any of his crop for three to four months, had approached them and offered them Rs 5,000 for their crop.
The farmers alleged that when they refused to accept the price, they were beaten up and forced to hand over the crop to the police.
“The farmer and their family members were forced to return the crop.
We were unable to produce anything for our family for over a week.
We had to sell our crop for Rs 3.2 lakh.
The police have also asked us to return our crop and pay compensation,” said Nagesh Chandra, a resident of the village.
The FIR also alleged that villagers had sold their field for 10 to 20 times the price in the area and that they were not given any compensation.
The farmers alleged the farmers have had no income for the past three years, the only source of income they had was the sale of their land.
They also alleged the villagers have no income from the sale and that the farm was being used as a field to collect garbage.
The villagers alleged the authorities were trying to make money from the case, by using the case as a pretext to make them pay money to the farmers.
The CGMM, however, said they have filed the case under the Right to Information Act, 2002.
“If the police are able to collect the information, we would be able to identify who was the person responsible for this case.