site_title


CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan launches indefinite fast but farmers to continue stir no fresh violence

download (9)

Bhopal: Facing an agrarian unrest in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday launched an indefinite fast here with an appeal for peace and met farmer leaders, but failed to reach a compromise, while the opposition Congress dismissed it as mere "drama".

No major violence was reported from the state and curfew was lifted from three of the four police station areas in Mandsaur district, the epicentre of the farmers' agitation.

Farmer leaders, however, asserted that they will continue the agitation till their demands, including loan waiver and better price of their produce, are met. Earlier, they had said that the stir, which started on June 1 and saw the death of five persons in police firing, will last till June 10.

The western Madhya Pradesh districts, especially Mandsaur remained peaceful today following which authorities decided to lift the curfew from all the three police station areas of the Mandsaur city.

However, prohibitory orders under section CrPC 144, which bans assembly of more than four persons, will remain in force in the district.

The curfew will remain in Pipliamandi police station area, 15 kms from Mandsaur district headquarters.

The district administration also said the internet services in the district, which were suspended on June 5 after out break of violence, will be restored by tomorrow morning.

In Mandsaur district, the curfew, which was imposed after five people were killed in police firing during a farmers' protest on June 6, was relaxed for 12 hours, from 8 am to 8 pm, in five police station areas of the district.

Chouhan's bid to quell frayed tempers

Clad in a kurta-pyjama and a Nehru jacket, with wife Sadhana on his side, Chouhan began his fast around 11 am at a 'pandal' erected in the BHEL Dusshera Maidan in the heart of Bhopal. Former chief minister Kailash Joshi put a 'tilak' on his forehead.

As the CM entered the venue, his supporters greeted him by raising the slogan "Kisan ka Samman hai, Shivraj Singh Chouhan hai, Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Bharat Mata ki Jai". The place, where Chouhan sat on his fast, had a picture of Mahatma Gandhi in the background.

Chouhan, under attack over the agitation during which five farmers were killed in a police firing, said the government stood firm with the farmers.

"I will not end my fast till peace is restored in the state," Chouhan said in the evening.

The chief minister added that he met 15 delegations of small farmers and 236 panels of big farmers through the day. The delegations pressed for loan waiver and "satisfactory" prices for their produce.

Earlier in the day, while addressing the gathering, he said, "I know of the bumper crop production that has sent the prices crashing down in the state. I know your (farmers) problems."

He also enumerated steps taken by the government to help the farmers. "The state government stands firm with the farmers. We are going to buy the farm produce and give profitable prices for it," he assured.

"Madhya Pradesh is my temple and people are god and I am a priest," he said.

The BJP veteran, who has been at the helm in the state for over a decade, said his government was pro-farmer and recalled measures that are underway to make farming a profitable occupation in MP.

He also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for trying hard to make agriculture a profitable venture.

Chouhan said the government had extended Rs 4,800 crore as relief amount to farmers when their soyabean crop was destroyed last year. Similarly, Rs 4,400 crore went as crop insurance compensation sum last year.

After addressing the gathering, he also looked carried out the official business.

Farmer leaders to continue stir

After meeting the CM, the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, which is part of the farmers' stir, said it would continue with the agitation till their demands are met. Earlier, the farmers' bodies had declared that the stir would last 10 days (till today).

Sangh state president Dev Narayan Patel after meeting Chouhan said, "We asked him to waive the loans of the farmers and pressed for the minimum support price (MSP) for farm produce.

"Our meeting with Chief Minister was cordial, but we will continue our agitation till our demands are met," he declared.

Asked about their next move, he said it would be communicated when the higher-ups take a decision on it.

Criticism from the Congress and the BJP's ally Shiv Sena

BJP ally Shiv Sena hit out Chouhan, saying instead of sitting on a fast here, the CM should have visited Mandsaur to comfort the farmers, while the Congress dubbed his fast as mere "nautanki" (drama).

"Chouhan should tell people whether his so-called fast was a 'nautanki' or an act of repentance for his misdeeds that set the state on fire," state Congress chief spokesman K K Mishra told PTI.

"Though he is trying to send a message that he is doing 'Gandhigiri' (Gandhian way of protest), it is not so. He neither sat beneath the statue of 'Bapu' nor garlanded Mahatma's statue before launching his 'nautanki'.

"After all, against whom has he started his fast at Dussehra Maidan? He should remember that (demon king) Ravana is burnt every year at the Dussehra Maidan. His Nautankibaji won't work as he has done such drama in the past against the UPA-2 government," he said.

The Congress also sought imposition of central rule in Madhya Pradesh, saying that the state was in turmoil.

Meanwhile, some Congressmen were rounded up near Board Office Square in Bhopal, when they were on their way to show black flags at Chouhan's fast site.

Sena's media in-charge Apoorva Dubey, who reached the Dusshera Maidan, told reporters, "Instead of sitting here, he should have gone to Mandsaur to comfort and help the farmers. Chouhan should sit indefinitely on the fast till the farmers' woes are mitigated, or else we will launch an indefinite fast in support of the farmers."

"Those farmers who have come to the Dussehra Maiden had been brought by the ruling BJP. Farmers' stir is the result of the failure of Chouhan, the state bureaucracy and the police," he alleged.

Farmers in the state began protests over low prices for their crops on June 1. The Mandsaur-Neemuch region, about 300 km from the state capital Bhopal, became the nerve centre of the gathering storm of farmer distress. Later, protests spread to some other parts of the state.

Death of a farmer allegedly in police custody

On the allegation that 26-year-old farmer Ghanashyam Dhakad died on Thursday night in police custody, Mandsaur district collector said the authorities were looking into the charge and that appropriate action would be taken if anyone was found guilty.

He said the kin of the deceased would be provided Rs 1 crore as compensation and a member of his family would be given a government job, as announced by the state government for the five other victims.

The last rites of Dhakad were performed at his native Badavan village in the violence-hit Mandsaur district.

Villagers had alleged that he was beaten up by policemen, leading to his death.

| Sitemap | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms