The Madhya Pradesh police on Thursday resorted to lathicharge on over 100 people from Bujbuja and Dokaria villages in Katni district who were protesting against acquisition of land for a private power plant. The police also arrested 12 villagers along with former Janata Dal (United) MLA Saroj Bachchan Nayak.
The JD(U) leader, along with other farmers, staged protest after a woman identified as Sunia Bai allegedly set herself on fire by pouring kerosene on Diwali day over the issue. She was rushed to the hospital where she died a day later.
They placed the body of the woman, handed over to them by police after post-mortem, on the road.
District Collector Ashok Singh said that a probe was on to find out the reason behind Sunia Bai's suicide.
The protesters were demanding that the land acquired for the project so far should be returned to the farmers and also sought transfer of a tehsildar and the police station in-charge of the area for allegedly taking coercive steps to curb the agitation.
The farmers in the two villages have also set funeral pyres on their land and warned the administration that they would immolate themselves if their land is forcibly acquired.
After her arrest, Ms Nayak told reporters that police lathicharged the protesters without warning and forced the family members to conduct the funeral.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh has reached the villages to meet the affected farmers.
JD(U) President and NDA Convenor Sharad Yadav had recently warned the administration against forcibly acquiring the land for the proposed power plant.