Marcha 23, 2018

Farmers' march reaches Thane, to gherao Assembly on Monday

12 Marcha 2018, 10:38 | Crisanna Felipe

Maharashtra govt promises to fulfil farmers' demands; protest called off

Masses of protesting India farmers converge on Mumbai

He questioned the need for a ministerial committee to discuss the demands with leaders of the protesting farmers after they reached Mumbai.

Heavy vehicles heading towards Mumbai on Eastern Express Highway will be diverted via alternatives routes like Kalwa, Vitava, Airoli and the Vashi Creek Bridge. The protest will proceed to state assembly later in the day.

The Mumbai traffic police have a huge task on their hands managing this disruption to citizens' normal lives and have released an advisory for motorists.

Farmers long march moves from Mulund towards Mumbai before reaching KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion on Monday. Several of the farmers were seen walking with swollen legs and torn slippers. Protesting farmers have planned to encirclement state Assembly to compress Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Devendra Fadnavis.

"It is possible that the government may talk of assurances to farmers and even deploy some of its ministers to temporarily confuse them", the Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP in Maharashtra and at the Centre, said in an editorial in its mouthpiece "Saamana". They are planning to reach Mumbai by Sunday evening.

"Today, thousands of "Dharma Patils" have come to Mantralaya (the state secretariat) chanting the slogans of "Jai Kisan".

"I haven't had any discussions with any of the leaders of the protest march". He added that a meeting with the chief minister would take place after 2pm. Farmers said it is not for entertainment but just a way to keep the atmosphere upbeat. In June previous year, the Devendra Fadnavis government had declared a Rs34,022 crore loan waiver and capped it at Rs1.5 lakh per farmer's family. "In the second phase, we will fight for making farmers across Maharashtra fully debt-free". The farmers of the state have been demanding a complete waiver of loans and electricity bills.

The agitating farmers included men and women.

Another farmer named Kangodi had this to say, "I am fed up with government policies". One of the main reasons for a lot of people to criticise the farmers and their non-violent protest is a statement put out on social media quoting "sources" in the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Office. The agrarian crisis and malnutrition are inter-linked.

Ashok Dhawale, president of the All India Kisan Sabha, said: "Our protests are not political".

However, the farmers will continue their agitation though their leaders will engage in talks with the government, said Dr Ajit Navle, general secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha, under whose banner the long march is being conducted. "My father Uddhavsaheb has sent specially to meet and extend my party's support to you". Sena and MNS workers were on streets to welcome the farmers and extend logistical as well as moral support to the march.

Currently, the budget session of Maharashtra state legislature is underway.

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