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India When farmers came knocking: The whys and hows of the agitation in Maharashtra

09:26  12 march  2018
09:26  12 march  2018 Source:   hindustantimes.com

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(Provided by The Times of India)

After covering 180km on foot over five days, over 35,000 protesting farmers from across Maharashtra have converged at Azad Maidan, Mumbai in support of their demands.

What is happening in Maharashtra?

Over 35,000 farmers from across Maharashtra, led by Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), embarked on a ‘Long March’ from Nashik to Mumbai on March 6 to press for their demands. Their 180 km march culminated in Mumbai on March 11.

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  When farmers came knocking: The whys and hows of the agitation in Maharashtra

What are their demands?

Farmers, who are struggling to cope with the agrarian crisis and natural calamities, demand:

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On June 2, the day after Maharashtra ’s farmers went on strike, a Rs 30,000 On Monday, Congress and Shiv Sena members took part in the agitation , which was occasionally violent in parts of the state. Maharashtra : How fudged income records were used to access Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

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* An unconditional waiver of loans as well as electricity bills.

* Implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, including an announcement of minimum support price for agriculture produce.

* A pension scheme for farmers.

* Monetary compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for crop damage because of last month’s hailstorms and unseasonal rains.

Their other significant demand is transfer of forest land they have been tilling for long.

Do they have any political backing?

Shiv Sena, a partner in the ruling BJP-led coalition, has vocally supported the agitation. Apart from them, Opposition Congress, NCP, Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and AAP have also extended their support.

How has the Maharashtra government responded?

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Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis held a high-level meeting on Sunday to review the situation. “We are positive on the demands of the farmers. We have set up a six-member cabinet committee to discuss their demands,” he said after the meeting.

What is the situation in the city?

The Mumbai police have deployed heavy security in and around south Mumbai, especially Azad Maidan, where the farmers have halted, and Vidhan Bhavan, on Monday, to ensure there are no untoward incidents.

A team of around 550 police personnel in uniform are on guard in south Mumbai, including two deputy commissioners of police, four assistant commissioners of police, 58 women cops and 282 policemen with lathis.

Apart from the police, 11 units of the State Reserve Police Force and Riot Control Force have been deployed.

What next?

The police said the farmers would not be allowed to proceed from Azad Maidan to state assembly, where the Budget session is underway, and that they are prepared to restrict them. A delegation of farmers is expected to meet chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and present their demands around noon on Monday.


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