In a revelation indicating a covert attempt by the Congress to turn the peaceful protests by farmers into a violent agitation, a video of a Congress MLA instigating people to burn down a police station in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri district, has now gone viral. The video shows, Shakuntla Khatik, Congress MLA from Karera, telling protesters to burn down the police station as an officer attempts to pacify the protest.
"Thaane mein aag laga do, thaane mein aag laga do (burn down the police station, burn down the police station," Khatik is heard saying in the video as people raise slogans against the government in the background. The video is believed to have been recorded on June 7.
Khatik later defended her actions and said she was taking out a peaceful march but a water cannon was used against her.
"Water was thrown on me in front of 1000 people. I fell down. I was taking out a peaceful protest but police provoked us. The words came out in the heat of the moment," Khatik told India TV.
Meanwhile, the farmers' agitation reached the doorsteps of the state capital Bhopal today, with incidents of arson and stone-pelting in Fanda area. Police baton-charged the protesters and arrested at least 27 of them in the area, some 20 km outside Bhopal.
"Some unidentified persons set a truck on fire near a spot where Congress workers were protesting. Then some men hurled stones at the policemen present there," deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Raman Singh Sikarwar told PTI.
The arrested include 19 Congress workers. Police also arrested eight others who were allegedly pelting stones.
"We also resorted to lathi-charge to disperse stone-pelters," the DIG said.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who yesterday attempted to enter Mandsaur where five farmers were killed earlier this week, was detained and later released by the state police.
He later met the kin of four of the five deceased farmers in Rajathan's Chittorgarh district at the MP border.
Madhya Pradesh government has alleged that Congress leaders were involved in instigating violence in the trouble torn districts. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Home Minister Bhupendra Singh, in no uncertain terms, have blamed the opposition Congress for the violence during farmers' protest.
Five people were killed in police firing in Mandsaur district on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, curfew was today relaxed for the day in Mandsaur city and Pipliamandi as the situation in the areas hit by violent protests by farmers improved.
SP Manoj Kumar Singh said authorities decided to relax curfew from 10 am to 6 pm as the situation has improved.
However, no protest, rally or demonstration will be allowed during the curfew relaxation period, police said.
Mandsaur, the epicentre of the agitation, has remained relatively peaceful even as farmer protests have spilled over to new areas of Madhya Pradesh.
Incidents of arson were reported from Shajapur and Dhar districts in western part of the state yesterday as the agitation for loan waiver and better crop price continued.
Police fired teargas and lathicharged a stone-pelting mob near the local market in Shajapur yesterday. Following the incident, prohibitory orders were imposed in Shajapur town under Section 144 of the CrPC.
The agitation has also spread to Chhindwara district in Mahakoshal region of the state.
The Centre had rushed 1,100 personnel of the RAF to the violence-hit state.
While two companies of the RAF, each comprising 100 personnel, were deployed in Pipliamandi in Mandsaur, where the five farmers were killed, another two were posted in Garoth.
The state's Home Minister Bhupendra Singh had told PTI that the five farmers had been killed in police firing, a remark that assumes significance as the authorities had earlier claimed the police did not fire during the protests.
To bring back normalcy, the Chief Minister had made a fresh attempt to reach out to the agitating farmers, saying the state government was open for a dialogue to iron out the differences and once again appealed them to maintain peace.