Vidarbha farm widows threaten hunger strike

As many as 300 widows of farmers who committed suicide in the killing fields of Vidarbha will go on an indefinite hunger strike in Nagpur next month to protest against the “mega agriculture expo” planned in the city.

This was immediately after leaders of the ruling political allies in Maharashtra–Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress and Sharad Pawar of Nationalist Congress Party–on Sunday jointly announced the event and said that it would have over 50 lakh farmers connected across the country. Five lakh are expected to participate in the expo.

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti leader Kishore Tiwari told Deccan Herald over phone from Nagpur that the government plans to spend over Rs 45 crore on this exposition, which only talks of superficial technology, soil-erosion and crop practices that disturb the environment. However, it allegedly “avoids holding discussions on cost-credit and sustainable agrarian economics”.

Vidarbha Farm Widows Association president Bebitai Bais, who is organising the indefinite fast, sardonically remarked that while the government goes around splurging money on farm expos across the country, “it has neither money nor time to look into the plight of peasants and farmland widows”.

Talking about the agitation, Bais said, “Three hundred widows will sit in front of the Central Institute of Cotton Research.” 

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