We are tired, our feet are swollen, but we will go on, say farmers from Maharashtra

Farmers march to south Mumbai in the night to prevent traffic jams and avoid disruptions for Class 10 and 12 students appearing for exams

mumbai Updated: Mar 12, 2018 11:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra farmers protest,Maharashtra farmers march,Maharashtra farmers
Farmers who walked for four days to protest in Mumbai’s before the Vidhan Sabha say they will not back off on their demands.(Praful Gangurde/ HT Photo)

After walking through the day on Sunday, farmers from across Maharashtra continued their march to Azad Maidan in south Mumbai early Monday, to avoid traffic disruption and not create trouble for students appearing for their SSC and HSC examinations.

Around 20, 000 farmers, who reached Everard Nagar ground at Chunabhatti on Sunday evening and halted for dinner, restarted their march at 1am. With no sleep, less food and endless discomfort, the farmers marchedthrough the night, reaching Azad Maidan early on Monday.

The farmers are exhausted, but determined to achieve what they have come for. Parshuram Gaikwad, a farmer from Beed, said: “We will not move from the state legislature building until our demands are met. There is no way anyone will back out after reaching so close to the destination. Yes, we are tired and our legs have swollen, but we will complete the walk.”

The farmers have walked around 180km to reach Azad Maidan, starting their protest on March 6 from Nashik. The march has been organised by the All Bharatiya Kisan Sabha (ABKS). More farmers from across Maharashtra are expected to join the march to Vidhan Bhavan on Monday.

Farmers under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha farmers walked 180 km over more than four days to protest in Mumbai. (Praful Gangurde/ HT Photo)

Their demands include rights to land in the possession of the forest department that their forefathers used to cultivate; the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, which recommends a higher minimum support price, widening the scope of farm loan waiver scheme, as well as its better implementation.

In his speech late on Sunday night to farmers, JP Gavit, farmer leader from CPI and MLA from Kalwan, said: “Our aim is not to disturb school students but to protest against the state government. For this, we will have to start walking during midnight and reach Azad Maidan.”

After halting at Azad Maidan for breakfast, the farmers plan to march to the state legislature building, where the budget session is currently underway.

Both the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and the Shiv Sena have extended support to the farmers, while Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi provided them breakfast at Azad Maidan.

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 11:00 IST