After 15 hours of fasting, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan ended his “peace fast” on Sunday assuring the farmers that their demands will be considered and acted upon. Last night, the families of four of the 6 farmers, who were killed in the police firing in Mandsaur, met Mr Chouhan and urged him to call off his fast.
“The families told me that ‘you don’t need to fast’. They asked me to visit their village. We will do all we can do for them,” Chouhan had said.
“We will decide the further course of action tomorrow,” said the Chief Minister swearing to solve farmers’ problems and promised “stern action against culprits”.
At least 6 protesting farmers were killed in an open firing on Tuesday after which Mandsaur has been in a state of unrest. Furious farmers raided and set aflame a police outpost after the firing. This is when the authority clamped curfew on Pipalia town, the nucleus of violence, rushed extra forces. The farmers’ protest started last week in Mandsaur over demand for better prices for their produce and debt relief. Mandsaur, the epicentre of farmers’ protest, had been on the boil since last week.
As protests erupted across the state after the firing, the Chief Minister began what came to be dubbed a “peace fast”.
Early this morning, from Bhopal’s Dussehra Maidan, where he sat on a fast with his wife Sadhana on the side and a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi behind him, the Chief Minister said, “I have always tried to everything possible to help the farmers. Their problems are ours. They are our own.”
In an emotional appeal to the farmers, he had said, “Your labour won’t go waste,” he told them and added, “I know of the bumper crop production that has sent the prices crashing down in the state. I know your (farmers) problems”.