Farmers to hold another 'Long March' from Feb 20

The All India Kisan Sabha (AKIS) that is spearheading the agitation, has planned the march between February 20-27. Reuters file photo

Exactly a year after farmers and Adivasis walked from Nashik to Mumbai, another similar 'Long March' has been planned from February 20, and this time the number of protesters is expected to be double.

The march by farmers comes right ahead of Lok Sabha polls. The All India Kisan Sabha (AKIS) that is spearheading the agitation, has planned the march between February 20-27.

The 'Long March' will begin from Nashik on February 20, the death anniversary of Communist leader Govind Pansare, will end in Mumbai on February 27, the martyrdom anniversary of Chandrashekhar Azad.

"In order to stop the AIKS-led second Kisan Long March in Maharashtra against the betrayal of farmers by the BJP's central and state governments, the government has taken recourse to repression," AKIS president Dr Ashok Dhawale said.

In Ahmednagar, a large farmers' convention was held on February 13 to prepare for the Long March and a memorandum was submitted to the district collector.

"Nowhere was there any breach of peace. All necessary police permissions were taken," he said, adding that police cases have been lodged against AIKS state general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale and attempts are on to arrest him just for organising this convention.

"It is crystal clear who is behind these steps," he said.

The Left wing AIKS warned that such repressive attempts of the government will not succeed in stopping the 'Long March'. "The government should realise that farmers' issues can be solved by accepting their just demands and by implementing them," he said.

Farmers in Maharashtra will not rest until the major issues that are being taken up in this second long march in two years are resolved, he added.

Their demands include immediate relief in the grim drought situation, issues of irrigation, land rights, complete liberation from debt, MSP at one-and-a-half times the full cost of production, a pro-farmer crop insurance scheme, increased pension, ration and food security.

It may be recalled, nearly 30,000 to 35,000 farmers and Adivasis marched from Nashik to Mumbai's Azad Maidan — a distance of nearly 180 km in seven days ending March 12, 2018.

In fact, the farmers won the hearts in Mumbai as they chose to walk during the night and wee hours to avoid traffic mess and taking into account board exams. The images of blistered feet of farmers made national images.

The farmers in Mumbai also met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and discussed issues like farmers loans and ownership of tribal land.

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Farmers to hold another 'Long March' from Feb 20

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