Former Chief Minister Kailash Joshi offered Chouhan coconut water to help him break his two-day-old fast at the Dussehra Maidan here. Farmers across Madhya Pradesh have been staging a protest demanding better prices for their produce and a waiver on their loan repayments.
A PTI report from Mandsaur said Madhya Pradesh police arrested - and subsequently released - 30 activists, including Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav and Swami Agnivesh, in Ratlam, while they were on their way to Mandsaur to meet families of farmers killed in police firing.
State Ministers and the kin of the peasants killed in police firing earlier urged the Chief Minister to end his fast.
Chouhan had also blamed the Congress for instigating violence during peaceful farmers' agitation - a charge denied by the rival party, which dubbed the CM's fast as a "nautanki" (drama). Farmer leaders, however, put the deaths at eight. A state minister standing behind him on the dais prompted him to say that Madhya Pradesh farmers will not take part in the three-hour blockade of national highways on June 16.
While appealing to the farmers to come forward and discuss all the issues, the Chief Minister further said he would not call off his hunger strike unless there is peace in the state. "We haven't seen any chief minister keeping a fast for poor farmers", a farmer told ANI.
Earlier in the day, he affirmed that he has always tried to do a lot for the farmers.
"Can farmers try to set fire to buses carrying women and children or pelt stones at them?"
MANDSAUR, JUNE 11 (PTI): Swaraj Indiachief Yogendra Yadav, social activists Medha Patkar and Swami Agnivesh, and JNUSU president Mohit Kumar Pandey were today stopped from entering Mandsaur to meet the families of the five persons killed in police firing. He should go to the farmers and ask them personally what do they all need.
The activists were stopped by the police at the Dhodhar toll plaza in Ratlam district's Jaora town and detained in the Circuit House there for about 30 minutes.
After being stopped, the activists sat on protest on the Mhow-Neemuch Highway, disrupting traffic movement. "I know of the bumper crop production that has sent the prices crashing down in the state".
The Mandsaur-Neemuch region, about 300 km from the state capital Bhopal, became the nerve centre of the storm of farmer distress.