Over 20,000 farmers have started a two-day march from Thane to Mumbai’s traditional protest grounds, Azad Maidan. The current protest comes eight months after a similar protest saw a sea of red – formed by farmers in red caps – on a long march through Maharashtra. They are demanding compensation for drought, an unconditional farm loan waiver and the transfer of forest rights to tribals.
The march is being led by Swaraj Abhiyan activist Yogendra Yadav and conservationist Rajendra Singh.
Farmer leaders claim the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has not yet kept promises made during talks to end the March agitation; the protesters had demanded the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee Report, which said farmers must have assured access and control over resources such as land and water.
1.40 PM: Threatening to not leave the grounds till their demands are met, Lok Sangharsh Morcha general secretary Pratibha Shinde said, “We will not leave Azad Maidan until our demands are met. We will decide our further course of action after meeting the chief minister.”
12.30 PM: Watch the farmer protest in Azad Maidan
Comprising mainly of farmers and tribals from North Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Ahmednagar and other parts of the state, the protesters are pushing for the fulfilment of their long-pending demands. pic.twitter.com/prJXB6FXTp
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) November 22, 2018
12.23 PM: NCP leaders Shashikant Shinde and Vidya Chavan arrive here at Azad Maidan
12.15 PM: CM Devendra Fadnavis said that he will meet the protesting farmers and hear their demands. “We have done everything to resolve the pending applications under the forest rights act (FRA). Some application are left, but those too are being resolved,” said Fadnavis.
“The state government has not fulfilled any of their demands when they came to Azad maidan marching from Nashik in March. The government is fooling the farmers,” said Ajit Pawar, NCP leader in the legislative assembly.
11.50 AM: Protesting farmers reach Azad Maidan amid massive police security bandobast.
11.45 AM: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis says he will meet protesting farmers and listen to their demands.
11.05 AM: Leader of the opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil raises the issue of the protesting farmers in the legislative assembly. He has demanded that the government make an announcement of the demands of the thousands of farmers, who are marching towards Azad maidan.
10.47 AM: Protesters are expected to reach Azad Maidan in south Mumbai by noon following which they will hold a demonstration near Vidhan Bhawan, where the state legislature session is underway.
9.30 AM: The Lok Sangharsh Morcha reached Dadar.
Maharashtra: Lok Sangharsh Morcha that comprises of tribals and farmers across the state reaches Dadar. The Morcha that has begun from Kalyan yesterday is marching towards Azad Maidan in Mumbai. The farmers are demanding loan waiver and drought compensation among others. pic.twitter.com/K6c3RHp4jb
— ANI (@ANI) November 22, 2018
5 AM: Mumbai Police list out areas likely to be affected.
Commuters starting journey from South Mumbai using JJ flyover, Lalbagh flyover and Parel flyover towards Dadar are advised to avoid & use Slip Roads till 10 AM. Farmer’s agitation scheduled today.
Regular Traffic movement on Dr BA Road towards CST and on these flyovers.
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) November 22, 2018