Thousands of Indian farmers protest lack of government support in Mumbai city

The massive Long March of the Maharashtra unit of the All India Kisan Sabha. Express

The massive Long March of the Maharashtra unit of the All India Kisan Sabha. Express

All India Kisan Sabha protest march, led by over 30, 000 farmers, reached Mumbai's Azad Maidan, after walking with blistered feet for about 180 km in the sun over the last five days.

On Saturday, the farmers reached Bhiwandi in Thane district.

Local reports said that the farmers, majority wearing red caps and holding up flags with the sickle and hammer symbol, have covered 30km on foot every day to reach Mumbai.

The similar demands of loan waiver and almost 50 percent profit over the input cost have been made by farmers across the country, putting the BJP-led central government in a delima.

Around 50,000 farmers are marching to Mumbai, intending to gherao the Vidhan Bhavan, or state legislative assembly, to press for their demands that include implementation of Forest Right Act 2008, Dr Swaminathan commission report for fair prices to farmers and complete loan waiver. "We are demanding an increase in pension schemes for poor peasants and farm workers, compensation for losses due to bollworm and pest attacks and rehauling of the public distribution system", he said.

Aditya Thackeray, chief of Yuva Sena, too, joined the march at Vikhroli and assured the protestors that the Sena is with the farmers, even though the agitation is being spearheaded by the CPM under the umbrella of the Kisan Sabha.

Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde has tweeted, "In light of Kisan Long March, SSC students appearing for exams tomorrow are advised to ensure that they reach exam centres well beforehand to avoid delays".

The Devendra Fadnavis-led government had requested the farmers to withdraw their protest march, but the farmers have refused to do so.

"Farmers in the state are reeling under the ripples of agrarian distress and they are under huge financial burden". Let us see how they respond.

The Maharashtra state government says it is open to talks to end the protest.

The farmers are also demanding transfer of forest land that they have been cultivating since generations in their name, besides forceful acquisition of farm lands for development projects. "I only read about the protests in the newspapers", he said.

"I haven't had any discussions with any of the leaders of the protest march". Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde visited the protesters late night after party chief Shiv Sena insistence.

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