From Nashik to Mumbai: 40,000 farmers, 180-km march, and a wish-listhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-farmers-protest-photos-azad-maidan-devendra-fadnavis-mumbai-abks-cpim-5094645/

From Nashik to Mumbai: 40,000 farmers, 180-km march, and a wish-list

Maharashtra farmers protest: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has invited a delegation of farmer leaders for talks on Monday afternoon.

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Farmers, who began their protest march from Nashik on March 6, reached Thane on Saturday evening. (Express photo/Janak Rathod)

Over 40,000 farmers converged in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan early on Monday morning, culminating their six-day long march that began from the CBS Chowk in Nashik.

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The long march moves from Mulund towards Mumbai before reaching KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion on Monday. (Express Photo/Deepak Joshi)

The farmers, who marched with blisters on their feet in the scorching sun, decided to walk the last leg of the 180-km march overnight, citing difficulties for office-goers and students appearing for board examinations today. Follow LIVE updates on the march here.

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Farmers at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Monday. They reached the venue at 5 am after marching straight for four hours to avoid inconveniencing students and office-goers in the financial capital. (Express Photo/Vignesh Krishnamoorthy)

Organised by the CPI(M)-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha (ABKS), farmers from Nashik, Thane and Palghar have come together to demand a loan waiver free of any conditions, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, fixed remunerative prices for agri-produce, and implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.

Refreshments being distributed to farmers at Azad Maidan. (Express Photo/Vignesh Krishnamoorthy)

Read | These farmers tell you why they are protesting in Mumbai today

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At the crack of dawn, farmers reached Azad Maidan in Mumbai. (Express Photo/Vignesh Krishnamoorthy)

The farmers reached Thane toll naka Saturday and, following a night-halt, marched towards Sion on Sunday. After resting for nearly three hours at the KJ Somaiya Ground, they left for Mumbai’s Azad Maidan at 1 am.

Farmers at Azad Maidan on Monday morning. (Express Photo/Vignesh Krishnamoorthy)

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has invited a delegation of farmer leaders for talks on Monday afternoon. They are scheduled to meet the CM at 2 pm. However, sources from the police department said the protesters wouldn’t be allowed to march up till Vidhan Bhavan.

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Farmers have been demanding unconditional loan waiver and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations. (Express Photo/Vignesh Krishnamoorthy)

“A delegation would be permitted to meet the Chief Minister, but we cannot allow them to march till Vidhan Bhavan. While we believe that the number of protesters would grow on Monday,” an IPS officer said.

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Farmers, marching from Mulund towards Mumbai, use solar panels to charge their cellphones. (Express photo/Deepak Joshi)

The civic body along with the Mumbai Police has provided four water tankers and fifty mobile toilets for the farmers at Azad Maidan.

Farmers play tribal songs during the 180-km walk. (Express photo/Deepak Joshi)

The farmers, many of whom come from tribal-dominated talukas, played tribal songs on the speakers to keep the spirits up. Many farmers have sustained injuries on the way.

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“I spent my entire life working in others’ fields. Now, I want the land to be transferred in our names so that my grandchildren are able to get an education and have a better life,” said Radhabai, a member of the Kisan Sabha. (Express photo/Deepak Joshi)

Political parties like the Congress, MNS, Shiv Sena and AAP have extended support to the protest.