The Madhya Pradesh police decided to relax curfew from 10 am to 6 pm on Friday in Mandsaur and Pipliamandi areas that were hit by violent protest by farmers this week, PTI reported. However, protests, demonstrations and rallies will not be allowed in the region, Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh said.
The newly appointed Mandsaur collector OP Srivastava said the local administration had decided to lift curfew because no violent incidents were reported in the district. The police have arrested at least 56 people till now and detained over 100 in connection with the violence during the farmers’ agitation, PTI reported.
Incidents of arson were reported from Shajapur and Dhar districts in the state on Thursday even as the epicentre of the agitation, Mandsaur, remained relatively peaceful. The police had to fire tear gas shells and baton-charge a mob in Shajapur, after which prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were imposed. It forbids assembly of four or more people.
A day after Congres Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s brief arrest for attempting to visit Mandsaur, Aam Aadmi Party leaders left the district. Party spokesperson Sanjay Singh said the farmers were forced to protest in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra because of the “apathy” of the Centre and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in these two states, NDTV reported.
“If anything small happens in Europe, Afghanistan or Pakistan the first person in the world to tweet on it would be our prime minister,” Singh said, according to NDTV. “But he hasn’t uttered one word on the death of six farmers. When you can waive Rs 1,14,000 crore of loans taken by corporates, who can’t you waive farmers’ loans?”
On Thursday, Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister Bhupendra Singh had said that an investigation confirmed that police firing was responsible for the death of five farmers during the ongoing protest in Mandsaur. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday had announced compensation for the families of the victims. The government has agreed to a loan settlement scheme for defaulters, and also announced a new commission to fix a formula to ensure fair prices for their produce. Singh has also given orders to immediately constitute a Rs 1,000-crore price stabilisation fund.
The farmers in the state have been protesting since last week. They want fair prices for their produce and loan waiver from the BJP government.