MANDSAUR (MP), June 8 - Anti-riot paramilitary forces today moved into violence-hit areas of Madhya Pradesh�s Mandsaur district, but the situation appeared to be improving in the troubled regions where farmers have been protesting for over a week demanding debt relief.
As contingents of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) fanned out into the district, the state government shunted out Mandsaur collector Swatantra Singh and Superintendent of Police OP Tripathi.
Curfew, imposed yesterday after escalating violence, was relaxed for two hours from 4 pm, as officials said the situation appeared to be improving.
The police, however, said some areas were still tense.
In Naya Gaon, about 70 km from Mandsaur, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by senior Congress leaders and the JD(U)�s Sharad Yadav, was detained by the police when the opposition leaders tried to make their way from the Rajasthan border to Mandsaur, the ground zero of the farmer protests.
There was high drama as the police tried to stop what had turned into a rally of sorts with Gandhi leading from the front. When police tried to push him back, he ran into a field nearby from where he was detained.
Gandhi was released after over four hours of detention in the guest house of a cement company.
Farmers in Mandsaur have been protesting since June 1 demanding loan waiver and better crop prices. Five farmers were killed in police firing on Tuesday as the agitation turned violent.
The government has brought in Manoj Kumar Singh from Neemuch as the new SP of Mandsaur. The collector of Shivpuri, OP Srivastava, who took charge of the district, said he faced a challenging situation.
Divisional Commissioner M B Ojha told PTI, �For the last two to three days, farmers were stopping vehicles and setting them on fire.�
Police said seven cases were lodged and 62 people detained in connection with the violence. Burnt vehicles were removed from the Mhow-Neemuch highway today, and traffic had resumed.
They said investigations have found that �stone throwers and some anti-social elements� had also joined the protest. � PTI