Mandsaur: A farmer who lost his son in police firing during the agitation last year today alleged that a government official asked him not to attend a condolence meet where Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was to be present. The official, however, denied the allegation. Gandhi yesterday attended a condolence meet at Pipliya Mandi in the district on the first anniversary of six farmers’ death in police firing. He also addressed a rally.
Dinesh Patidar, whose son Abhishek was among those killed, told PTI that Garoth Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) R P Varma called his another son, Sandeep Patidar, and said they should not attend the event, organised by the Congress. “Varma called my son Sandeep, who is a government employee, and asked who from our family were going. When Sandeep said we were going to attend the meet, Varma asked him to stop us,” Patidar said.
Patidar further said he and his wife attended the event all the same, as it was a condolence meeting. Had chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan invited them to such a meet, they would have attended it too, he said. “Rahul asked us during the meeting what is our demand. I told him that we should get adequate price for our crops, and those who killed our son and other farmers should be punished,” he said.
When contacted, SDM Varma said he only called and advised Patidar’s son, who works as a peon in the government office at Garoth, not to attend the meeting, as rules prohibit government servants from taking part in such programs. “It was my duty to advise him, as he is a government servant. As far as other family members were concerned, they were free to do so,” Varma said.