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Farmers lift siege of Bhopal after Govt. concedes 50 demands

Wednesday December 22, 2010 08:31:08 AM, Pervez Bari,

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Bhopal: The two-day siege of Bhopal together with the official residence of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan by about one lakh farmers from all over the state ended following the acceptance of major 50 demands from a long list of total 183 by the Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled state government here on Tuesday night.

The happy ending came tonight at about 8.30 pm when Madhya Pradesh state minister and Government spokesperson Narottam Mishra visited the “dharna” (sit-in) site and announced that the state government has conceded their major 50 demands and the procedure of issuing orders about these have been started. The farmers were agitating for their various demands including 12-hour power supply to rural areas, adequate fertilizers, quality seeds, better return for their produce, water etc.

Thereafter, Shiv Kumar Sharma, president Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, (BKS), Madhya Pradesh Unit, under whose banner the farmers were agitating, declared that the siege is being lifted and “dharna” and “Chakka Jaam” (road-blockades) being staged by the farmers in the city are being called off.

It may be pointed out here that during the day confusion prevailed about the lifting of the siege after an accord over 50 major demands was reached between leaders of BKS, an affiliate of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, (RSS), and the BJP Government. The agitating farmers virtually revolted and refused to budge from their stated position to fight it out to finish until and unless their demands were met forthwith and written orders issued.

“We are not going to be pacified just by assurances this time come what may”, the farmers reiterated their resolve in unison at the “dharna” site when informed about the acceptance of their 50 demands.

According to sources after the farmers refused to listen to the BKS leaders and lift the siege another round of talks was held in the evening to reach to an amicable solution.

In the morning confabulations between representatives of BKS, Government and the state BJP leaders along with RSS activists took place at the local RSS headquarters wherein the meeting ended without reaching to any workable result.

Meanwhile, a number of farmers sustained injuries, some in their heads, when police resorted to cane-charge on a group of peasants in the wee hours of Tuesday to disperse them. The agitation leaders annoyed at the incident counseled the farmers not to get charged and retaliate as the state government wants BKS activists to attack police force and thereby create conditions wherein the administration can take police action against them.

It may be mentioned here that taking everybody, including the district administration and the police, by surprise several thousands of aggrieved agitating farmers from all over Madhya Pradesh in about 5000 tractor-trolleys drove into the city in the wee hours of Monday morning to hold a convention and a symbolic “dharna” in Priyadarshini Park near the CM’s house over the non-fulfillment of their various demands despite submission of memorandums several times. They foxed the district administration and turned their convention into indefinite “dharna” and “Chakka Jaam” at important squares in the city.

According to Kisan Sangh state president Shiv Kumar Sharma Chief Minister Chouhan had earlier only dished out assurances about a dozen times each time the Sangh office-bearers met him with their demands. He calls himself to be the son of a farmer but by his conduct he has proved to be their worst enemy. “Kisan Ka Putr Kahlane Wala Kisan Ka Dushman Hai”, he had remarked at the start of the “dharna”.

Among many slogans raised by the farmers at the site of the “dharna” the most vocal was “Jab Tak Dukhi Kisan Rahega, Tab Tak Dharti Par Toofan Rahega”.

As the day wore more and more farmers in thousands trooped into the city. Thereby traffic movement went haywire and the normal life became topsy-turvy. Many schools had to declare holiday, examination in colleges were cancelled and government offices registered thin attendance.

Meanwhile, All India Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh alleging that Chief Minister Chouhan had failed to contain the farmers agitation had demanded his resignation.






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