India recently witnessed a march of 40,000 (approx.) farmers on the streets of the financial capital of the country, Mumbai. The peasants travelled more than 160 km in six days protesting against a critical anti-farmer policy.
Though farmers often do not get attention and consideration, lately all the eyes were on this Kisan Long March which encompassed a vast number of peasants, but this is not the only reason why people were talking about it.
Apart from being such a massive protest, what garnered our attention was the approach with which these farmers went ahead with the protest.
Take for instance the one led by Karni Sena against the release of Padmaavat.
This protest, on the other hand, was an example of how one can rebel without harming others.
More than thousands of farmers decided to march 200 kms from Nashik to Mumbai to protest against the anti-farmer and anti-people policies made by the BJP officials.
In November 2017, Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra announced loan waiver for farmers after their 10-day long protest. Though he didn't mention figures and eligibility for the loan, he promised that it would be the highest loan waiver in Maharashtra's history.
Farmers have alleged that the chief minister has taken a U-turn from his promise.
According to Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, farmers should be paid one-and-a-half times the cost of production and the Minimum Support Price should be fixed according to this.
AIKS has alleged that most of the peasants' lands are being grabbed for fancy, elitist, unnecessary and anti-people projects like super highways or bullet trains, and they demand that the grounds must be vested back in the name of the tillers.
They have demanded an increase in pension schemes to poor peasants and other agricultural workers. Also, they want the burning issues connected to the public distribution system (PDS) to be resolved.
But what gathered most of our attention was the support that they got from the general public. Apart from sharing photos of the bleeding legs of farmers and videos of senior citizens and women marching from Nashik to Mumbai, Mumbaikars actually came out on roads to support the farmers.
Residents from Mumbai's middle-class households lined up at the Eastern Express Highway and distributed water, poha and biscuits to the peasants.
When the Long March of Kisan Sabha reached Byculla junction, a large group of Muslim brothers led by the Rahmani group distributed water, dates and biscuits to the marching peasants.
Also, a diverse number of Mumbaikars were seen showering the Kisan Long March peasants with flowers from a walkway near Mulund area in the city.
Sikh community in Mumbai also distributed food to the farmers participating in the march.
Students and research scholars from IIT Bombay also assisted the farmers.
The farmers also faced a lot of problems during this march, like their phones dying, with no available option to charge it. This 48-year-old protester from Ganeshgaon in Tryambak Taluka, attended the protest with a solar panel installed on his head to charge farmers' phones free of cost.
These 40,000 farmers could have protested violently in the financial capital of the country are peacefully marching in the city to avoid inconvenience.
Where in one protest, students' school bus was targeted and destroyed, here the peasants undertook the march at night so that the students studying for board exams are not disturbed.
Well, do I need to say more?
The farmers met a high-profile six-membered committee of Maharashtra ministers, that included Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, at 2 pm today (March 12, 2018) where they put forward their demands.
Reports suggest that the chief minister has accepted most of their demands and this has been given to them in writing. According to NDTV, the farmers have called off the protest.
News agency ANI reported that Central Railway will run two special trains from Mumbai's CSMT to Bhusawal at 8.50 pm and 10.00 pm today so that the agitating farmers reach safely.
Image and Information Source: Kisan Sabha
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