After walking 180 km, more than 30000 farmers reached Mumbai’s Azad Maidan from all over Maharashtra. These Maharashtra farmers initiated their ‘Kisan Long March’ on 6th March 2018 and reached Mumbai after 5 days which gathered the attention of nationwide media. This huge contingent of peasants including men and women protestants was around 3 km long in Vikhroli.
These stubborn farmers were greeted by students and residents with packets of biscuits, refreshments and even footwear because of blisters. To help Maharashtra farmers march from Nashik to Mumbai, the Mumbai dabbawalas helped them with supplying them food. Along with basic necessities like food and water, these farmers were also aided by medical dispensaries set up at Azad Maidan. Doctors reported that some of the farmers were suffering from dehydration, diarrhea and blood pressure.
As these red capped protesters reached Mulund, they were welcomed by showers of flowers. This large swarm of farmers is led by All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leaders who are now going to meet the chief minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Devendra Fadnavis and keep their demands on the table and seek help because of crop crisis. This crucial meeting scheduled to be held at 9 am was later postponed because of the assembly session.
Mr. Fadnavis stated that the government is ‘sensitive and positive’ considering the demands of the farmers while responding to RV Patil of the opposition. He said that these demands are very important. Mr. Devendra Fadnavis along with a team of six other members including minister Chandrakant Patil, agriculture and irrigation ministers Pandurang Fundkar and Girish Mahajan respectively, Eknath Shinde and other senior ministers.
The AIKS leaders also reached the Maharashtra Assembly for discussing a dozen demands.
These Maharashtra farmers protested and kept their demands in very peaceful and cooperative manner. They marched all night to minimize the disturbance and hindrance in exams in the morning.Various organizations including Congress, NCP, AAP, Shiv Sena, local political leaders, students and research scholars of IIT Bombay also joined the protest and shouted slogans. One of their leaders claimed that over 20000 more farmers are going to join them for further proceedings.
Ajit Nawale of AIKS said that their next plan is to march toward the Vidhan Bhawan. According to some reports, Shiv Sena claimed that they will not let the Assembly proceedings to go further until and unless the demands of the farmers are met.
‘Kisan Long March’ is rapidly gaining nationwide popularity and is becoming the gossip of every corner. This march is going viral on the major social media platforms including that of facebook and twitter with people from all over India supporting the farmers.
The farmers are demanding a waiver in the loan, better pricing of the crops, compensation due to hailstorms, pest attacks and natural calamities and showed the disagreement of approval of land for residential projects and bullet trains. They were supported by other leaders such as Eknath Shinde and Aditya Thackeray. Thackeray also said that the demands of these farmers are legit and they should be debt free instead of demanding a waiver of debt.