Madhya Pradesh farmers' unrest: Shivraj Singh Chouhan begins fast, Cong protests in Bhopal
Amid unrest by farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday vowed to restore peace in the state even as he started his indefinite fast at Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal. The chiefminister said that he will continue his fast till peace is restored in the entire state. "My fast will continue till there is peace in the entire state," Chouhan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Acknowledging the importance of farmers in the state's progress, the CM said Madhya Pradesh can't progress without farmers as more than 65 per cent of the state population is dependent on farming. The CM on Friday was quoted by ANI as saying: "More than 65 per cent of our population is dependent on farming. The state can't progress without farmers."
Looking into the plight of the farmers, the CM assured the government will provide the right and profitable price for their produce. "Our government will never lag behind in giving farmers the right and profitable price for their produce," the CM was quoted as saying. According to latest updates from ANI, the CM is meeting the farmers at Dussehra Maidan in BHEL, Bhopal.
Meanwhile, the Congress workers have started a protest in Bhopal. Denying the allegations made by BJP of instigating violence in the state, Congress alleged that disgruntled workers of BJP and RSS are the ones igniting violence among the farmers. Addressing the media in Bhopal on Friday state Congress chief Arun Yadav and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh said, "Congress subscribes to Mahatma Gandhi's tenet of non-violence and the party can never be involved in any kind of violence." Yadav displaying pictures purportedly showing a BJP leader from Betma distributing sticks to his supporters said, "Disgruntled cadres of RSS and BJP incited the farmers and these people are responsible for the violence."
The chief minister had said that he would continue to fast until peace is restored in the state. Chouhan also added he would be available at the Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal for the next few days, for meetings with the stakeholders. Speaking to media, the chief minister said, "The agitation has become lawless in certain parts and protesters will be dealt with strictly." Commenting on the safety of people in the violent-hit areas of the state, he added, "Providing security to all is my Raj Dharma. Some people are handing over stones to 18-year-olds and 20-year-olds… There will be no compromise on security."
Meanwhile, the death toll rose to six as one more person, identified as Ghanshyam Dhakad, 26, died on Friday. The victim's kin alleged he was brutally beaten by the police during a protest at Dalauda village, between Jaora and Mandsaur, on Thursday. The victim was later admitted in a hospital in Indore, where he succumbed to his injuries on Friday.
The protests, which began on June 1 demanding loan waiver and better prices for the farm produce, took a violent course as five farmers were killed and six others were injured in police firing in Mandsaur district, the epicentre of agitation. With no signs of settlement between the protesting farmers and the state government, the protests spread closer to Bhopal on Friday. After stone-pelting incidents were reported in Fanda area, the state police in retaliation baton-charged and arrested at least 27 protesters in the area, nearly 20 kms outside Bhopal.