Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan calls off 'peace fast' in Madhya Pradesh

State Ministers and the kin of peasants killed in police firing earlier urged the Chief Minister to end his fast.

The district administration had also said the Internet services in the district, which were suspended on June 5 after out break of violence, will be restored by Sunday morning.

Farmers also gathered at the Sehore toll plaza on the highway and erected barricades and stopped the traffic, causing a severe jam and inconvenience to hundreds of commuters.

A 26-year-old farmer died in Badavan village of the district, with locals alleging on Friday that he was beaten up by policemen.

However, as the chief minister and agriculture minister Gauri Shankar Bisen ruled out any loan waiver, a group of farmers started a counter-protest at the same site opposite him.

Talking to reporters at his official residence, Chouhan said: "The state government is working for the farmers and in the past days, many important decisions have been taken to benefit them".

"I have always tried doing a lot for farmers, and their problem is ours".

Sources at MY Hospital in Indore, where the farmer was taken on Thursday night, said he was brought dead on arrival and that his body bore signs of assault. He said that he will keep serving the people of the State till his last breath.

"Any purchase of farm produce below the MSP declared by the Centre would be considered a criminal act in MP", Mr. Chouhan told a gathering at BHEL's Dussehra Maidan here, the venue of his fast.

After Chouhan reached Dussehra Maidan he addressed his cabinet and other leaders and also held a discussion with them. During his fast, Mr. Chouhan had met 15 delegations of small farmers and 236 of large cultivators.

The occasion turned a show of unity in BJP with senior party leaders, both loyalists and dissidents, seen congratulating him for breaking his 28-hour-long fast, even as state women and child development minister Maya Singh offered a glass of coconut water to Mr Chouhan's wife to end her fast.

Last evening, Chouhan, whose government came under fire because of death of five people in police firing in Mandsaur district as the agitation spread through western Madhya Pradesh, announced a fast for "restoration for peace".

He said the party would aggressively raise the issues concerning farmers in parliament and seek loan waiver for them.

A high-voltage political drama was also witnessed on June 8, when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was detained on his way to Mandsaur to meet the family members of the farmers killed in police firing.

  • Leroy Wright