Shivraj Singh Chouhan ends fast, striking farmers’ group calls off stir

Chouhan, who began the fast yesterday to calm frayed tempers of the farmers demanding a loan waiver and remunerative prices for their produce, announced a slew of schemes.

Published: 11th June 2017 08:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2017 06:07 AM   |  A+A-

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan having juice from former Chief Minister Kailash Joshi to break his indefinite fast for Peace in State in Bhopal on Sunday. | PTI

Express News Service

BHOPAL: With no violence reported in the State over the last 72 hours, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ended his fast for peace on Sunday after 28 hours. In another development, curfew imposed in Mandsaur and Pipliyamandi towns of Mandsaur district was lifted on in the morning. Curfew was clamped in the two towns following violence and killing of five farmers in police firing.

Several social activists, including Swami Agnivesh, Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav and ex-MLA Paras Saklecha, were stopped from entering violence-hit Mandsaur, for meeting the kin of deceased farmers, since prohibitory orders were imposed in the district.

The activists were stopped and detained at Malankheda (Ratlam district) over apprehensions by the administration that their visit to Mandsaur could possibly breach peace.

Chouhan broke his fast with a sip of coconut water at 2.45 pm amid Aandhi nahi toofan hai Shivraj Singh Chouhan hai slogans by supporters — accentuating how the fast for peace-cum-dialogue with protesting farmers turned into a show of strength for the his supporters. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who too held talks with farmers in Indore, announced excitedly, “Shivraj tum raaj karo, hum tumhare saath hain.”

The fast for peace, which the Opposition dubbed five-star upwaas, however, managed to win over at least one of the 15 farmers’ outfits. The general secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) in MP, Anil Yadav, announced that he’s calling off the strike which has crippled life in the State since June 1. Yadav said after dialogue with the CM and following the announcement by Chouhan to constitute the Krishi Utpad Lagat-Viparan Ayog (Agro Products Cost and Marketing Commission) to determine cost- based price for farmers’ produce, the BKU has decided to call off the stir.

“We’re calling off the stir but don’t know about the call in New Delhi for a national road blockade by other farmer outfits on June 16,” said Yadav.  

He was arrested three days back for possible breach of peace and hospitalised after that. Another major agrarian outfit in the State, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (RKMS) (formed out of RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Kisan Sangh), said a peaceful stir will continue in the State, as the CM has not accepted two demands, including 1.5 times higher returns than cost for all crops and Kisan Credit Cards loan waiver of around `45,000 crore.

The RKMS, whose president Shiv Kumar Sharma ‘Kakkaji’ is also the convener of Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (the national umbrella of 62 farmer outfits), has a significant presence in the violence-hit Malwa-Nimar region of Madhya Pradesh.

The national farmers' outfit had met under the convenorship of Kakkaji in Delhi on Saturday and decided on a nationwide road blockade on June 16 over farmers' issues, said RKMS State spokesperson Sunil Gaur. Meanwhile, the CM's dais was replete with top BJP and MP government faces, besides two Modi government ministers, Narendra Singh Tomar and Thanwar Chand Gehlot, and national party vice president Prabhat Jha -- all praising the CM’s  efforts and appealing to him to end his fast for peace. Before ending the fast, the CM asked the large gathering of farmers on whether he should end the fast and the response was a deafening “yes”.

Chouhan also recounted the painful meeting with kin of farmers who were killed in police firing on June 6 and their demands for strictest possible action against those found guilty by the judicial probe. The CM, however, is yet to decide on who will head the judicial probe in the five killings.

He assured adequate relief to commoners who lost their private property in the violent stir by farmers. While claiming he had read the Swaminathan Commission recommendations on agriculture on Saturday night, Chouhan announced several incentives, including the Kisan Bazar and a State Land Use Advisory Service, besides starting Village Knowledge Centers (Gyan Chaupals).

He also said anyone now buying farmers' produce below MSP at agri markets will face legal action. Also, milk will be bought from farmers as per the Amul model, while copies of land revenue records (khasra-khautani) will be provided free of cost to farmers. State Congress president Arun Yadav described the end of the fast as the culmination of the 'five-star fast'.

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