Farmers' March: Mumbai Police issues traffic advisory

Larry Hoffman
March 12, 2018

With thousands of distressed farmers, he set out on a long march from Nashik to Mumbai, covering 165 km, with the idea of reaching the doorstep of the state government at Vidhan Bhavan while the budget session is underway, and refusing to budge until their demands are met.

The tribal farmers started the long march from Nashik to Mumbai on March 6.

Amitesh Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) on Monday said that no road would be closed due to the protest march by the All India Kisan Sabha's farmers. If they try any tricks on us, we will start a hunger strike here at Azad Maidan.

Past year in June, similar protests gave a rise to intense situation over most parts of the state, forcing the CM Devendra Fadnavis-led government to annouce a conditional Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver, which was not implemented properly, according to farmers. However, Ajit Navale, leader of the Communist Party and convenor of the Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, refused to be drawn into any discussions at this stage and made a decision to go ahead with the March. The ABKS delegation that will meet the Chief Minister tomorrow will comprise farmers' leaders from all over the State.

Tarabai Chaudhari, a 50-year-old farmer from Vani village in the Dindori taluka of the Nashik district, said: "We have been raising this demand for years, but nobody pays any heed to us".

Ajit Nawale of the AIKS, however, dismissed the overture.

Led by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the farmers had reached Mumbai late on Sunday. The agitating farmers have been walking virtually barefoot for the past seven days. The committee of ministers will meet once a week and ensure time-bound compliance of demands.

The ABKS was part of the steering committee of farmers' outfits that started unprecedented strikes previous year. The agrarian crisis and malnutrition are inter-linked.

The Maharashtra state government says it is open to talks to end the protest. The Shiv Sena, a partner in the state government but a bitter critic of the BJP, is openly supporting the morcha.

The massive march has also drawn support from BJP ally Shiv Sena, Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, its organisers said.

Nationalist Congress party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Congress state president Ashok Chavan declared their support to the protest.

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