At least five activists of BJP’s farmers front were injured, one of them grievously, when police used baton to disperse an angry mob, led by the former legislator Nana Patole, who were holding demonstration and blocking the very busy Mumbai-Calcutta Highway to press the demand that the Bhandara district should be declared as drought-prone, immediately.
Patole, who resigned from the membership of the state legislative Assembly as well as from the Congress before the Lok Sabha elections, later joined the BJP. He led a farmers’ morcha from Lakhandur in the district that reached at the district collectorate this afternoon.
The marchers had blocked the Mumbai-Calcutta Highway for over two hours in support of the demand and were shouting slogans against the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) government, led by Ashok Chavan.
The former legislator alleged that the police brutally beat the women and aged farmers who participated in the morcha.
The district police had initially tried to disperse the mob by using teargas. However, it hardly worked. The marchers even gheraoed the nearby district collectorate. Later, the police were compelled to resorted lathi charge against the agitating mob.
Patole claimed that five persons were injured following the “brutal” police lathi charge and one of them, Narayan Hatewar, sustained severe head injuries. He was rushed to the local civil hospital, where he was reported to be serious. Hatewar is the president of BJP’s district farmers’ front.