In Nagpur village, protests and counter-protests by Cong., BJP

Policemen had to form a human wall to prevent workers from clashing

Published - June 09, 2017 11:32 pm IST - FETRI (NAGPUR)

In the backdrop of the ongoing farmers’ stir across Maharashtra and neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, some farmers gathered to protest in Fetri village of Nagpur district on Friday.

Local journalists had made a beeline for Fetri as it is an “adopted village” of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The farmers’ agitation was supported by the Congress, however, it was the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party members who indulged in intense sloganeering on Friday. The BJP workers, led by local party MLA Sameer Meghe, erected a makeshift pandal hardly a few metres away from the Congress protest venue.

As soon as a small group of Congress members and farmers began sloganeering against the Chief Minister and the BJP for allegedly neglecting farmers, the BJP workers who outnumbered them indulged in counter-sloganeering.

Aggressive posture

The BJP men then aggressively walked towards the pandal of the Congress protest and cleaned the vegetables dumped by Congress members. Policemen had to put up a human wall between the BJP workers and the Congress workers to stop them from clashing.

“Can’t we even protest? The BJP has still not fulfilled the promises of proper price to our produce and here they are not even allowing us to protest,” Dinesh Jumde, a farmer of neighbouring Bailwada village and a Congress supporter, told The Hindu .

When asked why they had not allowed the Congress protest, BJP leader and former sarpanch of Fetri Bhimrao Raut said, “The Chief Minister has announced a loan waiver and we believe that the protests should stop now.”

Police inspector Chandrashekhar Barahate, who was present at the venue, said both sides had not taken permission for the protest.

Asked why he allowed the ruling party members walk aggressively towards the Congress pandal, Mr. Barahate said, “Where is the question of allowing them? Our men were there to stop them and we had formed a human wall of policemen between the members of two parties to avoid any clashes.”

Congress’ charge

Reacting to the BJP members’ aggressive counter-protest in Fetri, Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “They are behaving like autocrats in a democracy. They do not want to solve the problems of people. They want to crush every dissenting voice with the help of strong propaganda.”

Local Congress leader and a member of Fetri village panchayat, Vakil Dongre, alleged that the BJP had brought the protesters from Nagpur and neighbouring Kalmeshwar in buses.

But Mr. Meghe denied the charge and asked the Congress for “proof.”

“There was hardly anyone at the Congress protest venue,” Mr. Meghe claimed.

He said, “The Congress was conducting this protest despite the announcement of the loan waiver by the CM. This was nothing more than a drama by the Congress workers. We got calls from local villagers that this [the Congress protest] was not right and it should be stopped. We walked towards them just to clean the vegetables they had dumped. We cleaned the spot as a part of the Swachh Bharat mission and ended our protest. We did not abuse them. We just wanted to prove what the CM has done for this village. Had we done anything wrong, we would have been sitting inside closed room at our homes.”

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