Kisan rally: government agrees to demands, farmers withdraw protest

Farmers take a break at Somaiyya Ground, Chunabhatti during historic 'Farmers Long March' under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha

Farmers take a break at Somaiyya Ground, Chunabhatti during historic 'Farmers Long March' under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha   | Photo Credit: Rajneesh Londhe

Around 15,000 farmers of the All Indian Kisan Sabha (AIKS), who set out on a protest march from Nashik last week, met a government panel at 2 p.m. on Monday.

Irrigation Minister Girish Mahajan said the government has agreed to their demands. "The government has agreed on 100% demands, including transfer of land title," he said.

The farmers have agreed to withdraw the protest, he said, adding that a special train has been arranged for them to return home.

The 'kisan rally' which started from Mulund on Saturday night, reached Mumbai on Sunday. The farmers decided to march at night in order to avoid causing inconvenience to public.

The farmers intended to gherao the Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai on Monday and voice their demands, which include a complete farm loan waiver, implementation of the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission, providing forest rights and better compensation for land acquired by the government.

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Here are the latest updates:

 

Fadnavis bows to demands of distressed farmers

Farmers return home by a special train from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station after the All India Kisan Sabha withdrew their strike on Monday.

Farmers return home by a special train from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station after the All India Kisan Sabha withdrew their strike on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

 

The Maharashtra government on Monday offered a six-month road map to address agrarian distress, bowing to the demands of aggrieved farmers. Fifteen thousand ryots and tribal people, led by the All India Kisan Sabha, had marched on foot nearly 200 km to the State capital, before assembling less than two km from the Vidhan Bhawan. The people from the villages marching to South Mumbai’s Azad Maidan in the early hours of Monday to avoid inconveniencing the average Mumbaikar received a warm reception from their urban peers.

 

Not a politically-motivated rally: Congress

All India congress committee general secretary Mohan Prakash said, "Since Modi has come to power, the country's farmers have been the worst hit. It’s a double whammy in Maharashtra since there is a BJP government here as well. Farmers products prices have crashed but their raw material prices have surged. Rahul Gandhi has been fighting for farmers rights since Bhatta Parsaul and the entire Congress is with you."

Ashok Chavan addresses the media: "Maharashtra has the highest suicide rate. The farmers walked all the way to have their problems resolved by the government and not just to talk. This is not a politically motivated rally but a real issue. I appeal to the government to take this seriously.”

 

Farmer delegation reaches Assembly

Eight member delegation of farmer leaders reaches Assembly to hold talks with the government.

A delegation of farmer leaders reach the Assembly

A delegation of farmer leaders reach the Assembly   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Meanwhile, MLA of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen says, "We have always been with you in this fight — be it in the Assembly or be it in the media or in the public. If farmers lose out due to natural calamity, isn’t it the State’s responsibility to compensate them?"

“Farmers are the roots of the State,” he adds. "If the State needs to flower, then the roots need to be strong. I ask Devendra Fadnavis to look into the eyes of these farmers and see the pain. If they can get you into power, they can throw you out as well. And they will if you don’t meet their demands."

 

Dabbawalas, Mumbaikars provide food to protesting farmers

What is Mumbai without its ever-present 'dabbawalas'!

The famed ‘dabbawalas’ of Mumbai and the city residents came out to help the thousands of farmers, who walked for six days to reach here from Nashik to raise their various demands, by providing them food and water.

Subhash Talekar, the spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association, said, “We thought about helping the farmers with food as they are our food-providers and have come from remote parts of the state.”

“We asked our men working between Dadar (in Central Mumbai) and Colaba (South Mumnbai) to collect food and deliver it to our farmer brothers at the Azad Maidan,” he said.

Dabbawalas, the tiffin-carriers known for their efficient delivery service, provided food to the protesters as a part of their ‘roti-bank’ initiative.

 

Govt positive towards farmers’ demands: Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government was “sensitive and positive” towards the demands of farmers and tribals, who have marched from Nashik to Mumbai to draw the administration’s attention towards their problems.

Mr. Fadnavis was responding to a discussion in the Assembly, initiated by Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who lauded the farmers participating in the ‘Kisan Long March’ for their peaceful protest while demanding a complete loan waiver and compensation for hailstorm and pink bollworm pest attack on crops.

 

Meeting at 2.00 pm

A delegation of the farmers, currently camped at the Azad Maidan, is likely to meet a government panel at 2.00 pm today. The venue for the same is yet to be decide.

Meanwhile CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is likely to reach Azad Maidan at 2.00pm today.

PTI has reported that though there is no likelihood of all farmers being allowed to proceed to the Assembly complex from Azad Maidan, a delegation of farmer leaders will be allowed to meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Mumbai ground turns into sea of red

Azad Maidan in south Mumbai turned into a sea of red this morning as thousands of farmers, carrying red flags, converged here after walking around 180 kms under blazing sun over the last six days.

They reached Azad Maidan early today, after camping at KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion area.

Farmers long march at J.J flyover.

Farmers long march at J.J flyover.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

 

CPI(M) leader Ashok Dhawle said over 50,000 people have joined the protest.

“We will begin our rally after 11 am today so that students appearing for their Class 10 board exam don’t face any difficulties,” he said.

Citizens support farmers

When the All India Kisan Sabha march proceeded, Mumbai citizens welcomed them, expressed support, and over 100 people even joined the morcha.

“It is such a shame that the farmers have to come out on streets like this,” said Snehal Andhorikar, 33, a home-maker. “We have always been told to respect our farmers and soldiers. With the recent ‘nationalism,’ anti-social elements say that those who don’t talk proudly about soldiers are anti-national. Shouldn’t our government, who have stopped caring about farmers, also be called anti-national?”

Ruchita Mitra, 26, an engineer, expressed distress at the sight of farmers walking barefoot. “In such heat and sun, who would come out unless the problem isn’t genuine? A country cannot develop if its farmers are unhappy.”

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Farmers takes quick break on Dadar flyover during their long march towards Assembly.

Farmers takes quick break on Dadar flyover during their long march towards Assembly.   | Photo Credit: Rajneesh Londhe

 

 

Farmers are continuing their march towards Azad Maidan, well past midnight. Though the earlier decision was to continue the rally at 11 am on March 12, the All Indian Kisan Sabha decided to go ahead with the march at night in order to avoid causing inconvenience to public.

They intend to reach Vidan Sabha by 2.30 am.

Farmers gather in large number at Somaiya ground before heading towards South Mumbai.

Farmers gather in large number at Somaiya ground before heading towards South Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: Prashant Waydande

 

Kisan rally to continue past midnight

"We do not want to put citizens of Mumbai or SSC students in any trouble. But we will reach Azad Maidan. Therefore, we have decided to start walking past midnight," AIKS National Secretary Ashok Dhawale.

Farmers' rally to begin at 11 am on Monday

The rally crossed Kannamwar Nagar on Sunday evening around 5.30 p.m. Meanwhile, Kisan Sabha general secretary Ajit Navale on Sunday said that the farmers' rally will only begin after 11 a.m. on March 12 to avoid any inconvenience to schoolchildren attending their board exams.

As the rally reached Ramabai Nagar in Mumbai around 6.30 p.m., it was welcomed by the locals with fireworks.

We demand Karz Mukti: Aditya Thackeray

Aditya Thackeray speaks to the farmers.

Aditya Thackeray speaks to the farmers.   | Photo Credit: Aditya Anand

 

Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray addresses the rally, says: "I promise you today, Shiv Sena will support this movement in whatever way we can. No matter what our colour is, we are from the land. Despite being from different parties, our demands are the same. We don't believe in Karz Maafi (loan waiver), Maafi is for criminals. We demand Karz Mukti.

"Shiv Sena, unlike other parties, does not only talk but also listens to the people. Uddhav Thackeray has sent me to assure you that we support your cause and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with you to fight for your rights." - reports Ajeet Mahale.

Greeted with flowers

 

About hundred people join the march from Vikhroli. The locals are welcoming the farmers by throwing flowers.

Members of Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar's Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and Centre Of Indian Trade Unions greet the farmers as the rally crosses Kanjurmarg Junction. 

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray meets AIKS leaders.

Tagore Nagar Gurudwara provides refreshment. They are serving Poha and water to all farmers.

Tagore Nagar Gurudwara provides refreshment. They are serving Poha and water to all farmers.   | Photo Credit: Ajeet Mahale

5 representatives to meet CM

Water Resources & Irrigation Minister, Girish Mahajan, on behalf of the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis government has asked five representatives from AIKS to come and meet the CM.

Mr. Mahajan is currently in discussion with farmer leaders in a building near the Eastern Express Highway, reports Mumbai reporter Aditya Anand.

 

Farmers march from Mulund to Mumbai

NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad addressed Farmer Rally says he does not believe that the government can deliver on their promises. "You've woken up Mumbai. Really praise brothers and sisters from Nashik for taking up the cause of all farmers of Maharashtra. You've managed to bring this city to a halt. Only George Fernandes, Datta Samant and Bal Thackeray managed to do this prior to you," he says.

 

Farmers long march enters Mumbai from Mulund in eastern suburb.

Farmers long march enters Mumbai from Mulund in eastern suburb.   | Photo Credit: Vibhav Birwatkar

 

Akhilesh Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VII), had said: “The farmers are being accommodated at the now defunct octroi plaza in Mulund (East). They have made their own arrangements for food. We are collaborating with different organisations to provide them with water and medical facilities.”

Adequate personnel have been deployed along the Eastern Express Highway.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:01:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/kisan-sabha-protest-march-mumbai/article23039856.ece

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