- The 80-year-old has a fractured arm, bruises on her face
- She says her husband, who is nearly 100, was beaten up too
- She went to meet the Chief Minister, but wasn't allowed to see him
An 80-year-old woman has alleged that she had been beaten up by the Madhya Pradesh police last week, who had come to her house chasing protesters from a farmers' rally in at Phanda kalan village near Sehore on Friday. Her husband Shivcharan Mewada, who is nearly 100 years old, was beaten up too and her son and four grandsons have been illegally arrested, she said. When she went to meet the Chief Minister - who is on a "peace fast" at 40 km away in Bhopal's Gandhi Maidan - she was not allowed to see him by officials.
The previous day, police had opened fire to control the crowds at a rally in Mandsaur, where the farmers were demanding a better price for their crops and waiver of loans. Six farmers had died in the firing. The state government initially claimed it was not the police who opened fire and admitted it only much later -- triggering more protests across the state, some of which had taken place in Sehore.
Sitting on a rope cot outside her house, her arm fractured and face swollen, Kamalabai Mewade said the escaping protesters had taken a short cut through her compound. The police came soon after, and accused her of being in league with protesters. "They said 'Buddhi (old woman), you ordered that trucks be set on fire, you set the place ablaze'," she said.
"I told them that I cannot move from my cot. I have had a rod inserted in my leg and I have been sitting here for the last one-and-a-half years. Still, they beat me up," she said.
The couple has now gone on a fast, demanding that the Chief Minister come and meet her. "I will not eat till the Chief Minister comes and meets me," Mrs Mewade said. She said she had gone to meet the Chief Minister to ask for help, hearing his appeal to farmers to come and air their grievances. But the officials did not allow her to meet him.
The state's Principal secretary SK Mishra has said he would look into the matter.
As protests erupted across the state after the firing, the Chief Minister, has promised to solve farmers' problems and "stern action against culprits". He broke his fast this evening, promising a number of measures to help the children of farmers who go for medical and engineering courses and those who wish to start their own ventures.