Mandsaur: Chouhan sits on a fast to appease farmers

RSTV Bureau

Shivraj-Singh-ChouhanMadhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has begun his indefinite fast to appease the agitating farmers and restore peace in the state.

“In last 11.5 yrs have worked tirelessly for all classes of young, women, farmers. Development is our focus…All efforts are directed at doubling farmers income & making agriculture remunerative,” said the CM at Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal where he has welcomed the farmers to end the stalemate.

“I am deeply saddened that stones are being placed in the hands of young people aged 18, 21 and 22 by some persons during attempts to stage road blockades. It is painful that these young people  Are our own and the elements leading them are also our own,” Chouhan had said on Friday when he had appealed to the farmers to come to the negotiating table.

“I appeal to the people, farmers to come to the negotiating table,” he had said.

The state government has started buying onion for Rs 8 per kg from the farmers, while Moong and Urad pulses too will be bought at Minimum Support Price (MSP), the CM had said. He had also promised that a commission would be set up to work out the cost of production of farm produce and a Rs 1,000 crore fund would be created to help farmers when prices crashed.

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh, especially Mandsaur have been protesting since June 1 to demand a higher Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce. Protests turned ugly on June 5 when five farmers were killed in police firing.

Since then protests turned violent and also spread to other parts of the state, even other states. Farmers sought farm loan waiver on the lines executed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in April.

Meanwhile, a wary central government has asked states adjoining Madhya Pradesh to keep a strict vigil against the spread of farmers’ protest.

In Mandsaur, curfew has been relaxed for eight hours from 10 am to 6 pm, superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh said.

But no rally or demonstration will be allowed during the curfew relaxation period, Collector O P Srivastava said.

At least 156 people have been arrested and 40 cases have been registered in connection with violence.

To control the situation, the Centre had rushed in 1,100 Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel to the violence-hit areas.

On Wednesday, two days after the police firing, the protesting farmers defied prohibitory orders, beat up officials and policemen, and resorted to violence and arson.

(With inputs from PTI)