Mandsaur violence: Deceased farmers' kin request CM Chouhan to end fast

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Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday mocked Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for undertaking an indefinite fast to end the farmers' crisis in the state.

Chouhan began his indefinite fast on Saturday after Madhya Pradesh witnessed a series of violent clashes between protesting farmers and security forces deployed in the state. "We have always stood with the farmers during distressful times". "But I am here to hold discussions with all of you".

He said the inaction of the state government forced the farmers to sell their produce below minimum support price (MSP) to middlemen.

After being denied entry into the curfew hit area on safety grounds, the delegation comprising Sanjay Singh, Bhagwant Mann, Somnath Bharti, Ashutosh and the party's Madhya Pradesh unit convener Alok Aggarwal staged a dharna in the Dhodhar area of Ratlam district. Chouhan said some "anti-social elements" wanted to push the state into deep trouble. For the second year in a row, there have been nearly no buyers for the state's bumper onion crop. "This fast is only to divert the attention", Congress leader P. C. Chacko told ANI.

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Yesterday, the families of the four farmers, who were killed in the police firing in Mandsaur, met Chouhan and requested him to call off his fast. "The farmers did not come to the protest with any petrol or anything that can be used to start a fire", said Sunil Gaur, a spokesperson for the National Farmers Labor Union, one of the groups behind the protest. At this, Digvijay Singh and Kamal Nath protested, saying they wanted to go there to restore peace but were being stopped. Farmers have also been forced to sell winter crops, like tomatoes and potatoes, at giveaway prices. Escalating attack on the government over the cheap imports, Yechury said, "Allowing cheap imports while the farmer is increasing production, just to keep prices low for the traders is an anti-farmer move by the govt". "Farmers' stir is the result of the failure of Chouhan, the state bureaucracy and the police", he alleged.

So far, there has been no report from any other state about farmers' protest or any incident of violence. India often confronts such situation as Farming, the prime occupation of Indian is no more a sustainable job. "We will get them the right price", the chief minister said. He has also appealed to the farmers to maintain calm and not to be misled by any political criminal elements who are trying to derail the entire situation.

On the allegation that 26-year-old farmer Ghanashyam Dhakad died on Thursday night in police custody, Mandsaur district collector said the authorities were looking into the charge and that appropriate action would be taken if anyone was found guilty.