Farmer leaders to decide on talk with govt tomorrow while 3,000 Maha farmers start ‘long procession to Delhi’
With a target to reach Delhi on Thursday, Maharashtra contingent hopes many more will join it as the procession winds its way through winter chills currently experienced in most parts of the country
Over 3,000 farmers, under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), started their 1,270-km-long 'Vehicle Jatha' (procession) from Maharashtra to join their counterparts from north India currently protesting outside Delhi, organisers said on Tuesday.
In a related development, a large number of farmers staged protests outside the offices of certain corporate houses in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon.
AIKS spokesperson P.S. Prasad said that over 2,000 farmers started in vehicles from Nashik on Monday evening, and more than 1,000 joined them in Malegaon during the day as they were proceeding to the state borders from Dhule.
Thousands of locals, non-farmers and representatives of various political parties turned up to wish them safe journey and success in their endeavours.
With a target to reach Delhi on Thursday, the Maharashtra contingent hopes that many more will join it as the procession winds its way through the winter chills currently experienced in most parts of the country.
The Maharashtra farmers are in "full solidarity" with the peasantry across India in opposing the three new "anti-farmer" laws introduced by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government at the Centre, said AIKS President Dr Ashok Dhawale.
Addressing a meeting in Malegaon this afternoon, several leaders including Dhawale and state AIKS Secretary Ajit Nawale said that the peaceful march is to demand the complete repeal of the three farm laws which would destroy the farming community and benefit the corporate houses.
Nawale said that the farmers were proceeding in vehicles as a march by the road would have been difficult was in view of the Covid protocols and lockdown measures, as well as the distance and the weather.
Besides Dhawale and Nawale, other prominent leaders include Kisan Gujar, Sunil Malusare and J.P. Gavit, who are leading the 'Vehicle Jatha' comprising scores of cars, trucks, buses, and tempos decorated with banners and AIKS flags.
At a public meeting in Chandwad, the farmers paid homage to the 33 farmers who have been 'martyred' to the cause in the past three weeks.
Speakers slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for their "arrogance, insensitive attitude and regressive policies targeting the farmers and workers, and working to serve the cause of a handful of industrialists and corporates". They burnt effigies of various industrialists and gave a call to boycott all the products of the major business houses that, they alleged, are being favoured by the BJP.
Meanwhile, protesting farmer unions on Tuesday said that a decision on the central government's offer for fresh talks has been deferred to Wednesday, even as they remained adamant on the demand to repeal the three farm laws.
Addressing a press conference at Delhi's Singhu Border, farmer leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu said that 32 farmer unions from Punjab held a meeting and discussed the next course of action.
He said that a meeting of farmer leaders from across India would be held on Wednesday where a decision on the government's talks offer will be taken.
Sandhu said that they would also write to Britain MPs, urging them to press their Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to attend India's Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Johnson will be the chief guest at the event next month.
In a letter to 40 union leaders, the Joint Secretary in the Union Agriculture Ministry, Vivek Aggarwal, had on Sunday asked protesting farmer leaders to specify their concerns over its earlier proposal of amendments in the laws and choose a convenient date for the next round of talks so that the ongoing agitation could end at the earliest.
The sixth round of talks on December 9 was cancelled following a deadlock with the farmer unions refusing to budge from their demand for repealing the three laws.
With agencies input