Swaraj Abhiyan party founder Yogendra Yadav, activists Medha Patkar and Swami Agnivesh were detained on Sunday during an attempt to enter the troubled region of Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, ANI reported. Police officials said around 30 people were detained after they breached orders against entering the area. Section 144 has been imposed in the district. Hours later, the detainees were released, Yadav said in a tweet.
Unidentified officials said the activists were stopped by the police at the Dhodhar toll plaza in the neighbouring Ratlam district, ANI reported. Activists including Jawaharlal Nehru Union Students’ Union President Mohit Kumar Pandey and representatives of several farmers’ outfits, staged a protest on the Mhow-Neemuch Highway.
“Our arrest is against the law as no written order was shown to us,” Yadav said after the arrest, according to PTI. “We wanted to meet the families of deceased farmers peacefully and honour them by giving them a letter and soil brought from different parts of the country, but we were not allowed to go.”
Earlier on Sunday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ended his indefinite “peace fast” which he had started on Saturday. He said the families of the farmers killed during the agitation had asked him to discontinue his fast and assured the farmers of a profitable price for their produce.
Farmers in Madhya Pradesh have been protesting for more than week. They want fair prices for their produce and loan waivers from the BJP government. At least five of them were killed in Mandsaur when police fired in an effort to quell the protests. On Friday, residents of the Badavan village alleged that one more farmer had died after an assault by police officials. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was briefly arrested for attempting to visit Mandsaur on Thursday.