Other States

Sugarcane farmers' stir turns violent in Ahmednagar

A farmer harvesting sugarcane in western Maharashtra. File photo

A farmer harvesting sugarcane in western Maharashtra. File photo  

They were demanding an increase in fair and remunerative price.

An agitation by sugarcane farmers, who were demanding an increase in the fair and remunerative price (FRP), took a violent turn in Shevgaon region on Wednesday with police firing plastic bullets, lobbing teargas and resorting to lathi charges to rein in restive protestors. The agitation was led by the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and other farmer outfits.

Parts of Ahmednagar, Aurangabad and Solapur districts, especially the Shevgaon-Paithan stretch, witnessed fierce melees between farmers and the police with the later taking recourse to firing to disperse agitators.

Shevgaon was the hub of the violence, with a number of villages in the taluk strewn with burnt tyres, smashed glass panes of vehicles and road barricades.

Two farmers and some police personnel have been injured due to the clashes. Uddhav Vikram Napari (32) and Baburao Dukare (45) – both farmers hailing from Paithan in Aurangabad - were grievously injured in firing from pump action guns (pellet guns).

Both are undergoing treatment at hospitals in Ahmednagar.

Police officers Suresh Sakpale, Sudarshan Mundhe and Govind Omase too suffered serious injuries and were being treated in Shevgaon, said sources.

The farmers, led by the SSS, have been demanding an FRP of ₹3,100 a tonne from the owners of the Gangamai sugar factory in Shevgaon.

According to police, the standoff between the farmers and the factory owners have been ensuing over the past week with SSS leaders and farmers staging road blockades to restrict the movement of trucks carrying sugarcane.

“Commuters faced major problems as protestors blocked the roads connecting Ahmednagar and Aurangabad districts. A complaint was lodged against the agitators on Tuesday and 13 leaders of the SSS were taken into custody. Since today morning, the agitators resumed their protest with increasing ferocity by burning tyres and pelting stones on the police. As a result, we were compelled to take riot-control measures to tame the unruly mob,” informed Ranjan Kumar Sharma, Ahmednagar District Superintendent of Police, speaking to The Hindu.

Following the arrest of the SSS leaders, angry mobs of agitating farmers burnt tyres, blocked roads and pelted stones in a number of villages in Ahmednagar, throwing public commute awry. A State Transport bus and a bullock cart was torched, while some police vehicles were pelted with stones in Shevgaon.

Likewise, similar scenes of unrest were witnessed in Pategaon in Aurangabad's Paithan Taluk.

“It is a clear move on part of the Fadnavis government to bust the farmers’ agitation…this protest [for a higher FRP], which was to last for three days, had been proceeding absolutely peacefully before the police launched a ferocious lathi charge on the demonstrators early morning today,” alleged SSS chief Raju Shetti, speaking to The Hindu.

Mr. Shetti blamed the Ahmednagar district administration for failing to resolve the problems of the farmers.

“Ideally, the authorities ought to have mediated between the sugarcane factory owners and the farmers. But instead, they responded by taking farmer leaders into police custody which in turn prompted an adverse reaction on part of the agitators,” Mr. Shetti said.

Senior Congress leader Harshawardhan Patil, too, squarely blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for its apathy towards farmers' problems.

"It is indeed sad that the farmer in Maharashtra under this government has to take recourse to agitation for every demand, big or small," he said.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 6:14:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sugarcane-farmers-stir-turns-violent-in-ahmednagar/article20459838.ece

Next Story