Nine farmers’ leaders were detained and 36 others arrested in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday as the police clamped down on a protest rally heading towards Chief Minister Raman Singh’s residence in Raipur.
The police have imposed Section 144 in Rajnandgoan and Kawardha districts until September 22. The rally from Rajnandgaon to Raipur was organised by farmers’ organisations in the State and intended to gherao the Chief Minister’s house in Raipur on September 22.
The farmers planned to put forth to the Chief Minister a list of demands including providing a bonus of ₹300 per quintal of paddy, increasing the minimum support price for paddy to ₹2100, waiving farm loans and implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
Farmers’ leaders claimed that over 500 farmers had been arrested or detained by the police in Rajnandgoan, Kawardha, and Raipur. The police, however, claimed that only 45 people had been taken into custody.
Sanket Thakur, convener, Chhattisgarh Kisan Majdoor Sangh, said: “The police have taken over 500 leaders and farmers into custody and have said that they won’t release them until September 22. Prominent activist Alok Shukla was also detained in Raipur.”
Mr. Thakur and other farmers’ leaders staged a protest against the arrests in front of the Governor’s residence in Raipur. Mr. Thakur said, “The police told us that they had intelligence inputs that the protest could turn violent. The fact is the State government delayed its decision to provide a bonus to paddy farmers and failed to curb the farmers’ unrest. They are scared of our protest and are making every effort to stop our rallies.”
Prashant Agrawal, Superintendent of Police, Rajnandgaon district said most of the arrested persons are Congress party workers.