Madhya Pradesh remained largely peaceful today on the second day of the nationwide agitation by farmers seeking to draw attention to the agrarian distress. However, officials said, the agitation has begun to impact mandis (agricultural produce markets).
Mandsaur Krishi Upaj Mandi, one of the biggest markets in the state, registered a massive dip in footfall.
Only 800 sacks of food grains and vegetables came to the market today, Mandi inspector Samir Das said, adding that 40,000 to 60,000 sacks are brought on an ordinary day.
Around 3,000 to 4,000 farmers visit the mandi every day, but today only around 30 farmers turned up, he said.
Mandsaur district in western Madhya Pradesh was the epicentre of last year's farmers' protest, during which six protesters were killed in police firing.
"Our agitation for demands including loan waiver and better prices for crops has started impacting MP. It has affected nine states, overall," said Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh (RKMM) convener Shivkumar Sharma.
"Farmers' organisations have named this agitation 'Gaon Bandh' (village shutdown). Farmers have been asked not to bring farm produce and milk to the markets in urban areas," he added.
"We want the agitation to pass off peacefully, but the state government is forcing farmers to sell their produce against their wishes," he alleged.
Mandsaur Collector O P Shrivastava visited the Pipaliya Mandi area, where Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to take part in a protest on June 6, the first anniversary of the Mandsaur shooting incident.
The collector and police officials reviewed the security arrangement for Gandhi's visit.
"Five companies of the Special Armed Force are keeping a vigil across the district," Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh said.
The intelligence wing of state police is expecting trouble to erupt after the agitators start stopping farmers from bringing produce to the cities, an official had said earlier.
Additional Director General (Intelligence) Rajeev Tandon said the state remained by and large peaceful on day two of the stir.
Three persons were today arrested for allegedly stopping some people from selling milk in Kodha Roti village in Betul district, police said.
Kotwali police station inspector Rajesh Sahu said that the three men, identified as Phoolchand Yadav, Ramkaran Yadav and Dinesh Yadav, also spilled milk on the roads, filmed their act and then shared it on WhatsApp groups.
They were later released on bail, he added.
There were reports of farmers spilling milk in other parts of the state.