The families of four people who died in police firing during the farmers’ agitation in Mandsaur met Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday and requested him to call off his indefinite fast, news agency ANI reported. The chief minister also reiterated that his fast will continue until and unless peace is restored in the state. However, Chouhan’s attempts failed to reach a compromise, while the opposition Congress dismissed it as mere “drama”.
Earlier in the day, Chouhan launched an indefinite fast at a ‘pandal’ erected in the Dusshera Maiden in Bhopal with an appeal for peace after farmers’ protests turned violent, leaving six people dead. Farmers have been agitating since June 1 demanding a better price for their produce and loan waiver among other things. Mandsaur region became the epicentre of the gathering storm of farmer distress on June 6 and later it spread to some other parts of the state.
The chief minister said he met 15 delegations of small farmers and 236 panels of big farmers through the day. The delegations demanded loan waiver and “satisfactory” prices for their produce. Addressing the gathering, he had 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 assured that the state government was standing firm with the farmers and insisted that they were going to buy the farm produce and give profitable prices for it. “Madhya Pradesh is my temple and people are god and I am a priest,” he had said.
Curfew was lifted from Mandsaur district after it remained peaceful. However, prohibitory orders under section CrPC 144, which bans assembly of more than four persons, will remain in force in the district.
With inputs from ANI, PTI