The death of a 26-year-old farmer from the restive region of Mandsaur triggered allegations from Badavan villagers that he had succumbed to an assault by police officials, PTI reported on Friday. Officials said they were investigating the cause of Ghanashyam Dhakad’s death as it was still unclear. The development has heightened tensions in the area following the ongoing protest against the government.
Villagers said Dhakad was on his way to the temple when a group of policemen accosted him. He was taken to a hospital in Indore, where he was declared dead. Agitated villagers accused the police of unprovoked beatings and arrests. Dhakad’s wife attempted suicide after hearing about his death, The Times of India reported.
Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh and Collector Swatantra Kumar Singh assured the villagers of an unbiased investigation. Former Congress MP Meenakshi Natarajan said she would demand compensation for the deceased farmer, PTI reported.
Earlier on Friday, the Madhya Pradesh police decided to relax curfew from 10 am to 6 pm but continued to disallow protests, demonstrations and rallies.
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. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s brief arrest for attempting to visit Mandsaur.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday had announced compensation for the families of the victims. On Friday, he said he would fast indefinitely “for peace”. 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 waivers from the BJP government.