Mumbai: On the second day of Mahapadav agitation in Maharashtra, after walking down the Kasara ghat on Sunday early morning, thousands of farmers and labourers from across the state reached Mumbai's Azad Maidan in the evening. They were met with massive support from people on their way to the state capital. With the successful march and the imminent agitation, Mumbai has become the second major centre of farmers’ protest in the country after Delhi as the demand to repeal the agri laws refuses to die down.
Tiru, a 70-year-old woman from Palghar, said that she had come to Kasara to join the Vahan Jaththa (cavalcade). She was accompanied by another farmer from her village in Dahanu tehsil. "I am one of the 20 women from our village. Some men have also come. This government is not listening to the farmers in Delhi. We will force the government to listen to us," said Tiru.
By Sunday morning, about 20,000 farmers had joined the Jaththa. Condemning the “adamant” stance taken by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre, Devram Bhika Jadhav, a 75-year-old farmer from Vani, Nasik, said, “We gave you (to the PM) power. We lifted you up on our shoulders. We made you a leader and now you won’t pay heed to us and will make laws against us? You will have to listen to us. Else, you must quit the post. You have no right to stay there.”
On its way to Mumbai, the Jaththa received grand welcomes at Khardi, Shahapur, Thane and Vikroli Kannamwar nagar. Political parties like Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, Lok Bharati, Peasant and Workers Party also joined the social activists and others in welcoming the Jaththa.
Also read: Strengthening the MSP System
Meanwhile, preparation of food was underway in Mumbai's Guru Singh Saheb Gurudwara. Hundreds of people joined to help with the preparation as well as transportation of food. The farmers will be camping at the Azad Maidan in the Fort area. At least 35,000 farmers were expected to join the Mahapadav by Sunday evening.
"These farmers otherwise feed us everyday. Today, they have taken to the streets and are fighting. So, it is our duty to help them, to look after their needs," said NK Dhumal of Hind Majdoor Sangh.
The Mahapadav has been organised and supported by more than 100 organisations from the state. More people are expected to join the agitation by Monday. From Pune's industrial towns, many cyclists are reported to be reaching Mumbai by Monday as well. They are mainly industrial workers who will raise their voice against the four anti-labour laws.
Prabhakar Chormare, 39, from Jalna district joined the Jaththa in Nashik on Sunday. He told NewsClick, “We were not consulted when the government made these laws. They kept showing the good side of it. But what about the security of rates? What about the guarantee that our produce will not remain unsold? These things are important and there is not a word about these in the laws. That is why we are protesting.”
Also read: A Spectre is Haunting Modi Government