Madhya Pradesh farmers protest spreads to new areas; arson in Dhar, Shajapur
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Bhopal: While curfew-bound Mandsaur district was relatively peaceful, incidents of arson were reported from Shajapur and Dhar districts in western part of Madhya Pradesh as protests spilled over to new places on the eighth day of the farmers’ stir.
While a truck and two motorbikes were torched by protesters on the Mumbai-Agra highway (NH-3) in Shajapur district, stones were hurled at police personnel in Shajapur town, which witnessed the farmers’ unrest for the first time.
District collector Alka Shrivastava said protesters pelted stones at police and set ablaze a truck and two motorbikes even though the administration agreed to their demand to stop purchase of onions at the prevailing Minimum Support Price (MSP).
The collector said sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Rajesh Yadav was injured in the stone pelting. She added that the incident was a conspiracy hatched by some anti-social elements.
Police lobbed tear gas shells and lathi-charged protesters after a stone-pelting incident near the local market in Shajapur. Following the incident, prohibitory orders were imposed in Shajapur town under Section 144 of the CrPC.
In Dhar district, protesters set a truck on fire near Phulgawdi village, about 40km from the district headquarter, on Indore-Ahmedabad road. They also blocked the road at Bandhedi village in the district.
Dhar superintendent of police Birendra Singh said the fire was immediately doused by fire tenders. “We will take action against the trouble-makers,” he added.
A bandh called by the Congress remained peaceful in Gandhwani and Kukshi towns in Dhar district. The Bhopal-Jabalpur highway (NH 12) remained blocked for hours at Panjra village near Udaipura in Raisen district, causing massive traffic snarls.
According to eyewitnesses, police personnel present at the spot remained mute spectators. In Sagar district in Bundelkhand region, protesters blocked Sagar-Jabalpur road and hanged chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s effigy to a tree near Sanodha village.
The agitation also spread to Chhindwara district in Mahakoshal region of the state. A bandh called by the Congress in Saunsar town of the district remained peaceful.
In Dewas district, the district administration has clamped prohibitory orders in the wake of Wednesday’s violence in which 12 vehicles, including four passenger buses, were set on fire in Newri Phata area.
Dewas district collector Ashutosh Awasthi has issued an order asking petrol pump operators to stop selling fuel in bottles and cans.
In Guna district, police arrested 90 Congress workers when they were marching to the railway station in a bid to stop trains. Congress workers also staged demonstrations in Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, and in Mandi Bamora of Vidisha district against the preventive detention of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday.
In Bhopal, Congress workers staged a protest outside the party’s state headquarters. Protesters also tried to stop Bhopal-Bilaspur Express at Mandi Bamora town in Vidisha district.
In Mandsaur, the epicentre of the violence, rail movement resumed on Thursday from the railway station, a day after the rail traffic was suspended in view of the safety of passengers, western railway official Jitendra Kumar Jayant said.
Farmers in Mandsaur have been protesting since 1 June demanding loan waiver and better crop prices. Five farmers were killed in police firing on Tuesday as the agitation turned violent.