Protestors climb tanks, one jumps in Amravati
The protestors demanded relief for debt-ridden farmers, reports Dharmendra Jore and Sarita Kaushik.india Updated: Dec 12, 2006 21:23 IST
It looked like a scene straight out of a Bollywood flick. But on Tuesday afternoon, when Dnyaneshwar Solao jumped from a tank in Chandur Bazar in Amravati district, he received real injuries.
It is learnt that the police was trying to persuade the protestors to climb down from the tank when Solao jumped. He suffered multiple fractures on his leg and has severely injured his head. The 35-year-old farmer has been admitted to a local hospital.
Solao was among the thousand-odd supporters of independent legislator from Achalpur, Omprakash alias Bacchu Kadu’s, who scaled up to water distribution tanks in 30 different places across Vidarbha on Tuesday, demanding relief for debt-ridden cotton farmers. The 36-year-old legislator, who conceptualised the idea, himself climbed up to a water tank in Nagpur.
“People may ridicule me for such protests but I’m sure this is the best way to call attention of the anti-farmer government,” Kadu told Hindustan Times from the Ayodhya Nagar water tank. His agitation, a spoof on the highly popular film Sholay, saw him tell mediapersons: “I am Veeru. The state government is mausi and my demands are my Basanti.”
“I chose Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s birthday for the start of the agitation because I want him to help farmers,” Kadu said. He is demanding a waiver of loans, compensation of Rs 5,000 per hectare and a 60 per cent import duty on cotton import. Kadu himself will stay atop the tank till December 14 without food and water. “We will jump if the government doesn’t assure justice for farmers.”
Kadu staged his first protest when he was a Class 8 student in Amravati’s Belora village. He forced the police to stop vulgar tamasha (folk art) shows. “I thought my methods of protesting should be different from others,” he said.
And sure enough, his methods have been unusual. Fighting for the rights of adivasis in Melghat nearly a decade ago, he partially buried himself in the ground in front of government offices. When he was protesting load shedding, Kadu installed Ganesha idols in tehsil offices in the district.
Kadu’s political career has grown thanks to such protests. In fact, these methods even helped this former Shiv Sainik to push behind political heavyweight RS Gavai (now Bihar governor) to the third position in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Kadu finished second to Sena’s Anant Gudhe who won that election.
BOX: Protest diary
When in Class 8, Kadu launched a successful protest against vulgar tamasha shows
Fighting for adivasis’ rights, he buried himself partially in front of government offices
Installed Ganesha idols in tehsil offices to protest load shedding
Camped in front of former PWD minister Vasudha Deshmukh’s residence, asking her to solve various public issues