A large number of cotton growers, who had threatened to commit self-immolation before RSS headquarters in Nagpur, were on Sunday detained as the protesters supported by Congress leaders marched towards the building over alleged non-payment of dues by a buyer, who they claimed is close to the Sangh.
A posse of police intercepted the protesters from Seloo in neighbouring Wardha district, who began their march from Gandhibagh Garden to the RSS headquarters in Mahal area, on busy Nagpur-Raipur highway and bundled many of the farmers into the police vans near Gandhi statue close to Chitar Oli.
The slogan-shouting farmers squatted at the square before they were forcibly lifted by police personnel.
As many as 400 farmers had yesterday threatened to commit “self-immolation” in front of the RSS headquarters to protest alleged non-payment of dues to the tune of Rs 8 crors by Sunil Prabhakar Talatule, who owns Shrikrishna Ginning and Pressing Factory and is said to be close to BJP leaders.
The farmers denounced the RSS and its Sarsanghchalak for allegedly shielding defaulter Talatule, who it is claimed has failed to make payment to over 400 farmers in Seloo.
According to an official in the Police Control room, 352 cotton growers were detained and taken to the police headquarters in Police Line Takli.
A farmers’ wing of Congress led by Avinash Kakde and one of the affected farmers, Ram Narain Pathak, led the protests.
Tension prevailed in the area as a number of activists from Sangh parivar who had assembled at Badkas square, few metres from the RSS headquarters, also reached Chitar Oli and countered the slogans.
The cotton farmers are demanding prices of their produce to the tune of 20,000 quintals which they sold to Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee between November, 2014 and May, 2015 and which was in turn purchased by Talatule.
Pathak said they had earlier met Union Minister for Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi and Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungattiwar and urged them to intervene in the matter but nothing happened.
Nagpur City and District Congress Committee president Vikas Thakre and his associates Umakant Agnihotri, Abhijeet Wanjari and others also reached Chitar Oli and extended their support to the agitation.
“Our anger is against RSS now, since they should pressurise the defaulter to pay the dues of the poor farmers,” Pathak said.
Talatule is facing offences under IPC section 420 (cheating) registered with Seloo Police on July 25, 2015. He was arrested and subsequently released on bail.
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