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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
The civic body along with the Mumbai Police has provided four water tankers and fifty mobile toilets for the farmers at Azad Maidan.
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.
Political parties like the Congress, MNS, Shiv Sena and AAP have extended support to the protest.