Maharashtra farmers’ long march: 50,000 at Azad Maidan; top 10 developments

The protesters, joined by tribals, had halted at the KJ Somaiya Ground before marching towards Azad Maidan on Monday morning

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After an arduous journey of almost 170 km that started on March 5, a swarm farmers participating in ‘kisan long march’ to voice their demands to the Maharashtra government, finally reached Mumbai on Sunday. The numbers heavily increased along the way from 30,000 agitatators to about 50,000, according to the organisers.

Enduring the scorching heat in a march that started from Maharashtra’s Nashik district six days ago, the farmers moved slowly across the length of Mumbai and finally reached Azad Maidan on Monday at 5 in the morning. The protesters, joined by tribals, had halted at the KJ Somaiya Ground before making their way to Azad Maidan.

The farmers in the rally are demanding a complete waiver on loans and electricity bills, ensuring remunerative prices for crops, and implementing the Forest Rights Act for the benefit of scheduled tribes, among other things.

Last year, the Maharashtra government had announced a loan waiver of Rs 40 billion under the first phase of the farm loan waiver scheme. Today, the farmers plan to lay siege to the Maharasthra Assembly in Mumbai where the state Budget session is underway.

“We will gherao the Vidhan Bhavan on Monday to demand a complete loan waiver, fair price for farm produce, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, compensation for hailstorm-affected farmers among other things,” Kisan Gujar, President of the state council of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) told PTI.

Here are the top 10 developments around the Maharashtra farmers’ protest at Azad Maidan:

1. Food distributed among farmers halted at Azad Maidan; several suffering from dehydration: According to media reports, food is being distributed among farmers camped at Azad Maidan before they embark on to their march towards State Assembly later in the day.

Several farmers in the process are reportedly dehydrated after marching for more than 30 km on Sunday in Mumbai. There is also medical dispensary set up at Azad Maidan. Doctors who spoke to CNN-News18, said farmers were suffering from blood pressure and diarrhea.

2. Shiv Sena plans to disrupt the State Assembly functioning: According to media reports, the Shiv Sena said they are not going to let the state Assembly function on Monday until the farmers’ demands are met.

→ Maharashtra Farmers Protest ←

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Maratha morcha: Lakhs expected to attend protest march in Mumbai today

To seek reservations in jobs and education for the Maratha community

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Latest Current Affairs : Lakhs of people from across Maharashtra are expected to attend a protest march in Mumbai on Wednesday, seeking reservations in jobs and education for the Maratha community.

This will be the 58th — and the largest-protest march of the Maratha community, exactly a year after the first march was held in Aurangabad, the organisers told reporters in Mumbai.

So far, 57 protests, in the form of ‘Mook Morcha’ (silent rallies), have been held in various parts of the state following the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year-old Maratha girl in Kopardi in Ahmednagar district in July 2016.

On Wednesday, the Maratha Kranti Morcha will begin at 11 am from the BMC’s Jijamata Udyan and culminate at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai, the organisers said.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter have been used to spread the morcha message to community members, they said.

The JJ flyover will be closed for traffic on Wednesday in view of the morcha, police said.

Schools in south Mumbai will remain closed tomorrow as a precautionary measure, an official said.

The silent protest is a peaceful way to pres the demand for reservation in jobs and educational institutions and punishment for culprits in the Kopardi case, the organisers said.

Their other demands include Amendment in SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) to stop its misuse, loan waiver to curb farmer suicides, and remunerative prices for agricultural produce.

The morcha has been organised by the Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella organisation of several Maratha groups.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to use the Bombay Gymkhana ground adjacent to the Azad Maidan, to handle the large number of people expected to participate in tomorrow’s morcha, an official said.

BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Commissioner of Police Datta Padsalgikar had met last week to discuss preparations and necessary arrangements from a security point of view, he said.