Farmers Protest: CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan calls off fast in Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday ended his indefinite fast, which he launched on Saturday here, for restoration of peace in his state rocked by agitation of farmers and violence.

This comes at a time when Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district has been boiling over a farmers' agitation to waive off their loans.

At least five peasants were killed in police firing in Mandsaur on June 6. Chouhan, under relentless opposition attack over the farmers' stir, broke his fast about a day-and-half into it with a glass of coconut water offered by former MP chief minister Kailash Joshi.

BJP state president Nandkumar Singh said the relatives of those killed in the Mandsaur firing had asked the chief minister to call off the fast when they met him on Saturday.

A delegation of farmers and farm leaders from all over India have come together to visit the bereaved families of the farmers who were martyred during the farmers' movement at Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh.

He also said that the farmers will be compensated for their losses. They will be demanding the dismissal of Mr. Chouhan's government for failing to address the grievances of farmers.

The government has chose to set up a Rs 1,000 crore corpus to ensure stabilisation of farm produce prices so as to ensure remunerative prices of crops. "We are going to buy the farm produce and give profitable prices for it", he assured.

"We requested the Chief Minister to call off his hunger strike".

Chouhan had been criticised for his decision to fast instead of "helping the farmers". Farmer leaders, however, put the number of deaths at eight. (The farmers and their issues were in my thoughts and dreams.) "I have always tried doing a lot for farmers, and their problem is ours". Five farmers died on the spot, and one - who was allegedly detained by the police - died later in the hospital.

The protesters had also burnt a truck and four motorbikes at Rajgarh district headquarters on 8 June. He also met several representatives of farmers' organisations and listened to their problems on Saturday.

  • Leroy Wright