Mumbai: Calling upon political parties to “stop exploiting farmers”, Bollywood actors Nana Patekar and Makarand Anaspure on Wednesday came out in support of the seven-day-old farmers’ strike in Maharashtra.
The actors said it was “sad and regrettable” that farmers had to resort to a strike to secure their basic right of survival and declared that, through their NAAM Foundation, they were behind the agriculturists.
“Farm loans waiver will be a temporary first-aid. If they are given suitable remuneration prices for their products, the question of debts would never arise,” said Patekar, addressing media persons together with Anaspure.
He said it was necessary for the government to write off loans of poor, needy and deserving peasants or those who were primarily into farming. However, he also advised the financially better off farmers to reject such a loan waiver.
“I have agricultural land and take up farming, but that is not my primary vocation. So, people like me don’t need loan waivers,” Patekar explained.
He warned that if attempts are made to suppress the farmers, the agitation would spread, “and if farmers can hang themselves, they can hang others as well”.
“I appeal to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with folded hands to concede the farmers’ demands and resolve their issues,” Patekar said.
Referring to the first-ever strike called by farmers in the country, Anaspure said it was significant that the farming community had united in this manner.
“Don’t kick around the farmers like a football. Look at them as human beings, sympathetically. Measures like loan waiver, minimum support prices and implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee Report will provide huge relief to them,” Anaspure said.
Distressed by the spate of farmers’ suicides in Maharashtra, Patekar and Anaspure joined hands to set up the NAAM Foundation in 2015 to extend financial and other help to agriculturists.
The ongoing farmers’ agitation entered the seventh day on Wednesday, with support of all political parties, trade unions, lawyers and others groups even as Fadnavis on Tuesday promised that “the biggest” farm loan waiver package in the state was coming before October 31.