Thousands of Indian farmers march to demand government help

13 March, 2018, 11:24 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Protesting farmers

The Congress party stands with the farmers and trials marching to protest against the Central and State Government's apathy.

According to a Kisan Sabha leader, the main demands pertained to complete implementation of the loan waiver scheme announced a year ago, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and compensation for victims of damage to cotton crops following a bollworm infestation and the unseasonal rains and hailstorms.

He was addressing farmers camping at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai in the presence of CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

At a protest previous year in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, many carried human skulls they said were of farmers who had killed themselves due to deep debt. A large number of Mumbaikars were seen distributing food, water, and footwear to the farmers marching in the heat and dust, a lot of them barefoot. A majority of these Adivasis work on forest land and said they have not been granted ownership rights under the Forest Rights Act.

Fadnavis was responding to a discussion in the Assembly, and has said that the demands of protestors were very important, and that the government was sensitive and positive towards them.

"For writing off the entire debt burden of the farmers, the government needs barely Rs 1 lakh crore, which they don't have".

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The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Shiv Sena, which is part of Maharashtra's ruling alliance, have extended support to the farmers' demands.

Farmers' leaders met representatives of the state government, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who assured them the government would meet their demands.

While the agrarian crisis of Maharashtra has been a much discussed issue, this is the first time that the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the agriculture wing of the CPM, has taken the protest to the heart of the capital.

Last year, for the first time in the country, Maharashtra farmers had gone on "strike" which resulted in the announcement of a farm loan waiver package. Earlier today, the farmers reached Azad Maidan in Mumbai. Members include state water resources minister Girish Mahajan, the guardian minister for Nashik.

A doctor cleans the wound of a woman farmer at the end of her six-day march on foot, in Mumbai, India, March 12, 2018.

"The whole nation supports and salutes our farmers protest march for their democratic rights in the most disciplined manner".



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