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Maharashtra Police swoop down on farmers ahead of ‘long march’ 

Mumbai, February 19

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis government has intensified a crackdown on farmers’ groups affiliated to the left-wing All India Kisan Sabha, which have planned a “long march” from Nashik to Mumbai from Wednesday.

This morning the police detained several leaders of farmers’ organisations like the Satyashodhak Shetkari Sabha in Dhule district just as they were preparing to leave for Nashik. According to
information available from the state police control room large groups of farmers were taken into custody at Dahiwel and Pimpalner in Dhule district. The reason given for their detention is that they did not obtain official permission for the march to Nashik.

The All India Kisan Sabha accused the Maharashtra Government of usingcoercive methods to disrupt the “long march”, which comes at a time when the state is in the grip of severe drought. The body, which is affiliated to the Communist Party of India, has announced that it would mobilise at least 80,000 people who will march to the country’s financial capital.

The marchers will reach the city when the Maharashtra assembly will beholding its budget session.

Last year around 40,000 farmers undertook a march towards Mumbai topress for a number of demands including clearing of land titles for tribals traditionally cultivating forest lands.

According to Ashok Dhawale, president, AIKS the farmers need immediatedrought relief, complete farm loan waiver and minimum support price for agricultural products at one-and-a-half times the cost of
production as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission.

The farmers’ outfit said the Maharashtra government had failed to fulfil promises made during their “long march” to Mumbai last year.

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