Amid Farmer Protests In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan To Fast

Extra policemen are posted in parts of Madhya Pradesh to contain violence during various protests.

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Amid Farmer Protests In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan To Fast

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan would station himself at Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal.

Bhopal:  Amid raging farmer protests in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared today that he would sit on an indefinite fast from tomorrow "for peace". 

Protests that started about a week ago over farmers' demands for better prices for crop and debt relief have escalated over the death of six in police firing in Mandsaur on Tuesday.

Mr Chouhan said he would station himself at Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal, where people could come and discuss their demands with him.

"I request everyone to come and discuss their problems with me and I will fast as well as run the government," he said.

Ahead of assembly polls next year, the crisis has been seized by opposition parties. Yesterday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attempted to travel to Mandsaur to meet the families of those killed in firing. He switched from a car to two bikes and finally started walking but was arrested before he could go anywhere near Mandsaur.

Extra policemen are posted in parts of Madhya Pradesh to contain violence during various protests. 

In Mandsaur, protesting farmers blocked roads, vandalised property and burnt vehicles on Tuesday. A police officer said because of the vandalism and stone-throwing, policemen were forced to fire at a crowd, leading to five deaths on the spot and a sixth in hospital today.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh, who had firmly denied that the deaths were caused by police firing, backtracked yesterday and said he had initially been supplied wrong information.

The police had said no politician would be allowed to enter Mandsaur. It repeated its resolve today when Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party announced that its team would go to the protest-hit area.

In April, the new Uttar Pradesh government of Yogi Adityanath decided to waive farm loans. Other states and farmers' organisations have been demanding a similar waiver.

According to the agriculture ministry, Madhya Pradesh is India's biggest producer of oilseeds and pulses and the number two producer of wheat and corn.
 

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