Nashik (Maharashtra): 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.