The protests by farmers that began June 1 to seek fair prices for farm produce and debt relief on Friday moved closer to Bhopal.
Bhopal: A farmer apparently injured in the lathicharge by the police on a group of agitating tillers at Bhaugarh in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district late on Thursday evening died at a private hospital in Indore a few hours later. With his death, the death toll in the nine-day farmer unrest in the state has risen to six. On June 6, five farmers had died in police firing at Pipliya Mandi in Mandsaur.
The incident sparked tension in Bhaugarh with locals holding protests on the nearby highway. A local subdivisional magistrate, Rajesh Yadav, was attacked by an irate mob as he tried to pacify them.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, meanwhile, announced on Friday he would “indefinitely” shift his office to Dussehra Maidan, a sprawling ground here, on Saturday to meet agitating farmers to address their problems, and go on fast. “I will move out of the Ballav Bhavan (state secretariat) and sit at Dussehra Maidan from 11 am Saturday. I will govern the state from there. I will meet farmers and people there. I willresolve their problems. I will also fast for peace,” Mr Chouhan told reporters after chairing a high-level meeting on the situation in the state in the wake of the ongoing farmers’ unrest.
The CM said he was “pained” to see young people being handed over stones by mischief-mongers (to target security personnel). “I find this disturbing. I always said my doors are open for talks with anybody, particularly farmers. But mischievous elements are trying to create a law and order situation by instigating farmers to resort to violence”, he said.
“The violent protests by farmers being witnessed in the state is being scripted by some people,” he said, in an apparent reference to the Congress.
Earlier, Ghanashyam Dhakad, 32, was admitted to a hospital in Indore late Thursday evening after he was injured in the police lathicharge at Bhaugarh. He died an hour later. “The Mandsaur police admitted Ghanashyam to the hospital at around 10.30 pm. At that time he was vomiting. He died at around 11.15 pm,” Indore City SP P. Mishra said.
Curfew was relaxed from 10 am to 6 pm in the district headquarters town on Friday to enable people to buy essential goods, Mandsaur collector O.P. Srivastav said.
The violent protests by farmers that began June 1 to seek fair prices for farm produce and debt relief on Friday moved closer to Bhopal. Around 1,000 farmers staged a highway blockade around 20 km from the state capital. The police later tried to chase them away, leading to a violent clash between them.
In another development, a video showing a local Congress MLA in Shivpuri, Shakuntala Khattir, provoking her party workers to set fire to a police station has gone viral in the social media. She said, however, that she had made the remark in the heat of the moment.