Shivraj begins fast for peace, farmers launch counter-protest

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

Although, CM Chouhan had initially tried means of negotiation and had announced a separate fund for the farmers to stabilize the prices of their produce, the violent protests continued in Mandsaur, so he began an indefinite fast for peace.

He said anti-social elements were involved in the breach of peace in the district and 156 persons have been arrested so far in connection with cases of arson and vandalism. "But, CM is performing a "nautanki" (drama) by sitting on a fast", Singh added.

The state's Home Minister Bhupendra Singh had told PTI that the five farmers had been killed in police firing, a remark that assumes significance as the authorities had earlier claimed the police did not fire during the protests.

Later, a delegation of Shiv Sena met Chouhan and suggested ways, including a loan waiver, to end the farmers unrest.

"I know of the bumper crop production that has sent the prices crashing down in the state".

"I request people to come up to me with their problems..."

Farmers responded to the attack by extending their protests on Wednesday to six other districts, including Neemuch, Dewas and Ujjain. "So the state can not move ahead without the farmers". "We are going to buy the farm produce and give profitable prices for it", he assured.

The police "atrocities" against farmers in Madhya Pradesh must be condemned in the harshest of words, he said during a protest on the Ganga river's bank at Har Ki Pairi. "We demand imposition of President's Rule in the state", said Singh. Addressing media today, Chouhan said, "Your (farmers') labour won't go waste". Determined to meet the families of farmers in distress, the Congress leader had walked for close to 100 metres before entering Madhya Pradesh from Dalia village in Rajasthan's Chittorgarh district. "Moreover, a commission has also been set up to look into the costs".

Also, there were sporadic incidents of violence in some areas in Sehore where road blockades by farmers led to resorting to lathicharge by police today. "Anti-social elements were involved in violence", he said. "Farming and farmers' welfare have always been priority of the State Government", he said.

While the opposition Congress is posturing as "pro-farmer" to seek to exploit the situation for its own advantage, it has the same political record as the ruling BJP. Calling the chief minister's fast a "tamasha", Yechury took to Twitter and wrote, "Hypocrisy at its worst: On the one hand, unleash police to kill poor farmers, and on the other, tamasha of a "fast".