As the Narendra Modi-led government is hell bent on curbing the two-month long massive farmers protests, the farmers too are preparing to give a strong reply. On February 6, farmers have decided to stall the country between 12 pm and 3 pm as a mark of protest against the government’s use of force against protesters. In Maharashtra, it is expected that almost all major national and state highways would be blocked during the protest in support of the AIKSCC’s (All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee) call to hold chakka jams across the country.
The protest will be led by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), whose state chief in Maharashtra, Kisan Gujar told the NewsClick that all the branches of AIKS will join in the protest on February 6. "We have given a call. We are expecting that our activists will block all major highways including Mumbai Agra National Highway and Pune Bengluru National Highway," said Gujar.
The farmers’ agitation in Maharashtra is being supported by more than 100 organisations. The Jan Andolnanchi Sangharsh Samiti (JASS), a joint body of people's movements, is coordinating the march. Vishwas Utagi, convenor of JASS told the NewsClick that more than 50 state highways will be blocked and also chakka jams will be held at various junctions in Mumbai and its suburban region.
"All the checkpoints of Mumbai will see active protest. Also Chembur circle, Sion circle, Andheri, Dadar, and Bhandup areas will see the protest. Various organisations are voluntarily coming out in support," said Utagi. He also made an observation saying, "Earlier there was not full scale support from people per say but after the violence on Republic Day, we are witnessing that various small organisations are contacting us on their own and giving us support. It means, people have noticed the conspiracy at play and that is why they are supporting the farmers," said Utagi.
On the other hand, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana will look after the sugar cane citadel. It will focus mainly on Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and parts of Solapur where the organisation is planning to take the farmers’ agitation to every tehsil office. Also, it will block the roads Pune - Bengaluru and Buldana Sangli. "Excluding the vehicles related to medical help and essential commodities, all other vehicles will be requested to stop during the protest hours. Chakka jam would be a support movement to farmers who faced lathis and tear gases of Modi Sarkar. We are confident that the protest will be successful as nobody is supporting the police’s treatment of farmers," said the state chief of Swabhimani Sanghatana, Ravikant Tupkar.
Loksangharsh Morcha of Nandurbar has decided to protest at the State Road Transport bus depots in the district. Nandurbar is a tribal district and to make people informed about the policy brutality in Delhi, the leader of Loksangharsh Morcha has decided to use the public places for awareness campaigns. "Many still don't know what exactly has happened in Delhi. The media has misreported the R-Day event. That is why we will reach to as many people as possible and let them know the reality," said Pratibha Shinde of Loksangharsh Morcha.
In Marathwada, different leaders will lead the protests in different pockets. In Beed, Kalidas Aapet and his colleagues will protest at Beed Latur road. They will be joined by farm labourers from all over the district. In Parbhani, Rajan Kshirsagar and Manik Kadam are planning to block Aurangabad-Nanded highway. They are also planning to lead the protest by the widows of farmers who committed suicides in the last few years amid the intensified agri crisis. "We need to bring the real condition of farmers before all. These laws will add to their pain, their poverty. Chakka Jam is aimed to bring more people out of their home and participate in protest," said Manik Kadam of Shetkari Sanghatana.
In Mumbai, Hum Bharat Ke Log, a body formed during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, will also support the agitation. Volunteers of Hum Bharat Ke Log are expected to join the protest at Azad Maidan and Dadar. Additionally, Rashtra Seva Dal and other like-minded bodies will hold protests.