Shiv Sena activists vandalise insurance firm office in Pune, seek settling of farmers’ claims

The damaged window pane of IFFCO- TOKIO General Insurance Company office.   | Photo Credit: Mandar Tannu

A day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray warned insurance companies allegedly delaying settling of claims of farmers affected by post-monsoon showers, a group of local party leaders and workers on Wednesday vandalised a branch office of the IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company in the city’s Camp area.

The Shiv Sena activists stormed the insurance company’s branch office at Mangaldas Road around 11 a.m. and shouted slogans demanding that rain-hit farmers, whose crops had been completely ravaged by unseasonal rain, immediately be given insurance money which is due to them.


Without even waiting for all the employees to leave the office, the Sena workers, unfurling saffron flags, completely destroyed office furniture and damaged cabins by smashing window panes, glass dividers and hurtling and mangling office chairs.

‘Wake-up call’

“In the past, we had given proposals to all these insurance companies, including IFFCO Tokio and Bajaj Allianz, urging them repeatedly to settle farmers’ claims at the time of the drought. But they paid no heed. Officials at IFFCO Tokio were behaving in an arrogant manner even now when we urged them to give the desperate farmers insurance money. So this act [of vandalising the firm’s Pune branch] was to give them a wake-up call,” said Sena Pune unit chief Sanjay More, speaking to The Hindu.

There have been several cases of IFFCO Tokio failing to settle claims of farmers in the Marathwada region during the drought which stalked Maharashtra this summer.

“We will carry on with our ‘Sena style’ agitation if the other insurance companies in Pune and Mumbai do not get their together and actively help farmers,” said Mr. More, warning of similar actions against errant crop insurance firms.

Former Sena legislator Mahadev Babar said that Sena activists would be closely monitoring crop insurance companies to ensure that claims were settled expeditiously.

“Such a blow on part of the Sena was much needed to prod these insurance companies into action. Our party workers will ensure at the taluk level that ‘panchnamas’ are done and afflicted farmers given their due compensation of insurance money,” Mr. Babar said.

Local Sena leader Suraj Lokhande warned companies that this act of the Sena’s was only the “title” and that the “full film” was yet to come.

“We will kick off a Statewide agitation and vandalise offices of other crop insurance companies if they failed to settle claims rapidly,” he said, adding that while farmers were starving, crop insurance firms were allegedly behaving in a high-handed manner.

Officials at the Koregaon Police Station said investigations were on and that a complaint would soon be filed against the vandals.

On Tuesday, Mr. Thackeray had made a day-long tour of three districts in Marathwada to interact with farmers and survey the ravaged lands in the region.

“Do not worry,” the Sena chief had reassured farmers, while remarking that he knew the addresses of the errant insurance companies.

While touring drought-hit regions in Marathwada in June this year, he warned that his party workers would not hesitate to ‘straighten’ insurance companies and banks denying financial aid to farmers.

In July, Mr. Thackeray, along with his party leaders and workers, staged a symbolic protest in front of a crop insurance company office at Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex.

At a time when his party is indulging in ‘brinkmanship bargaining’ with the Bharatiya Janata Party, thus delaying the government formation process, Mr. Thackeray is projecting himself as being above petty wrangling for power, ostensibly concerned only with the interests of the farmers.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 2:50:52 AM |

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