The Maharashtra government on Friday suspended two police officers for firing on protesting farmers in Maval taluk in Pune, and six constables for damaging a car.
The decision was taken on the basis of footage of the incident. Home Minister R.R. Patil told the Legislative Council that inspector Ashok Patil and sub-inspector Ganesh Mane were seen running after the farmers and firing on them. The suspended constables were seen smashing a car, Mr. Patil said.
The incident has rocked the Legislature for four days in a row. The monsoon session was drawn to a speedy closure on Friday afternoon as the furore refused to die down.
For the past few days, Bills were passed, reports tabled, and announcements made amid a cacophony of slogans decrying the government for what the Opposition called “the encounter killing of farmers.”
In a symbolic representation of mourning for the death of three farmers in the firing, agitating legislators on Friday carried a supine Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLA Ram Kadam on their shoulders into the House. They laid him down on the floor to the chants of “Ram Nam Satya Hai” (The name of Ram is truth).
Opposition members produced CDs and photographs of the incident. Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Eknath Khadse said the footage clearly showed the police firing on unarmed protesters. It also showed them dragging the body of a farmer Moreshwar Sathe into a police vehicle, he claimed.
Saying that many questions remained unanswered about the firing, he demanded why the government had not taken any action against Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural) Sandeep Karnik.
Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said that while the government had suspended the police officers, Mr. Karnik had, in a press conference, defended all police personnel involved in the incident.