Nashik farmers march to Mumbai for anti-farm law rally
Over 1,200 farmers from Maharashtra's Nashik headed to state capital Mumbai on Saturday in protest against the central government's new agricultural laws. The protesters, marching under the All India Kisan Sabha's (AIKS) Maharashtra unit, are planning to begin a statewide vehicle march of farmers to Mumbai. The development comes ahead of a planned tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day on Tuesday.
Protesters to converge at Azad Maidan
The protesting farmers are participating in a vehicle rally, which will converge at the Azad Maidan on Sunday for a three-day sit-in. On Monday, the protesters will launch a massive rally to Raj Bhavan and a memo will be submitted to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. On Tuesday, the protesters will hoist the national flag to mark Republic Day at Azad Maidan.
Farmers' union seeking to intensify protests ahead of R-Day
The rally is part of a call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a joint farmers' front which is leading the protests in Delhi, to intensify the nationwide protests from January 23 to January 26.
Political leaders to join rally
The Monday rally will also be attended by political leaders belonging to all three parties comprising the Maha Vikas Aghadi, the ruling alliance in the state government. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Congress state President and state Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, and Shiv Sena leader and state Environment and Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray, are among the leaders who will address the meeting.
'March being held to support agitation in Delhi'
AIKS National President Dr. Ashok Dhawale was quoted as saying by The Indian Express, "This march is being held to support and expand the historic two-month-long farmers struggle in Delhi" Dhawale said, "Our main demands are that the three anti-farmer, anti-people, and pro-corporate farm laws be repealed. We want enactment of a central law guaranteeing remunerative MSP and procurement."
Withdrawal of Electricity Amendment Bill among other demands
Dhawale said they also seek the withdrawal of Electricity Amendment Bill and the four Labour Codes; the entrustment of all forest, temple, and pasture lands in the names of the tillers; and the resumption of the Mahatma Phule Loan Waiver Scheme, stalled due to COVID-19.
Why are the farmers protesting?
For months, farmers have been protesting against the three farm laws passed in September. The protests intensified in November-end as thousands of farmers from several states reached Delhi, camping at the city's borders. Farmers fear that by allowing trade outside APMC mandis, the laws will weaken the mandis and they would be deprived of Minimum Support Prices, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by corporations.