Representational picture
Representational picture

Hundreds of farmers took to the streets of Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon to protest the contentious farm laws rolled out by the Centre.

Most of the farmers came from Igatpuri, Jalgaon, Nashik and Ahmednagar to gather outside Collector's office at Bandra.

The protest was supported by Shetkari Kamgar Party and Prahar organisation headed by Maharashtra minister - Bacchu Kadu.

"Mumbai is the epicentre of Maharashtra and we want our voices to be heard, we want to send out a message to the agitating farmers in Delhi that they are not alone," Gopal Repal, Leader of Maharashtra Jan Kisan Sangh - Ahmednagar told FPJ.

The farmers had started to gather outside the Collector's office from Tuesday morning. By 1 pm, there were hundreds of farmers at the spot. The farmers were to march towards Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). However, the Mumbai Police stopped them from going beyond the Kherwadi Naka.

Muralidhar Bhalerao, a farmer from Jalgaon came to Mumbai along with 70 other farmers. Bhalerao claimed, in the past ten years, not a single farmer from his community has received surplus from the contractors.

"Due to the presence of middlemen we don't get our profits. Further, privatisation of the agrarian sector will destroy us completely," Bhalerao told FPJ.

"The new laws will give an upper hand to the representatives of private corporate houses, our freedom of keeping stocks will be ruined and our profit will also go down," said Nakul Katekar, another farmer from Jalgaon.

Most of the protesters represented various umbrella bodies, the spokespersons present at the venue stated, the protest will continue unless centre rolls back the farm bills.

"Our agenda is to carry out the protest in this part of the country unless the centre rolls back the bills, hundreds of farmers have been living on roads at the Ghazipur border, we want to assure them, they are not alone" Jayesh Tambe, member of Lok Sangharsh Morcha (LSM) told FPJ.

"The government has drafted the bill without consulting a single stakeholder, they only consulted those who have vested interest in the matter" stated Mohammad Iqbal another member of LSM.

Meanwhile, some of the members present at the venue also maintained that they weren't aware of the guidelines of the farm bills and have come to Mumbai because leaders of their community groups have invited them to.

"We are not aware of the pros and cons of the farm bills, we were told to travel to Mumbai and we followed their order," said a farmer from Ahmednagar requesting anonymity.

"Nearly 100 farmers from my village were brought to Mumbai today by our community leaders, we were only told that this is to show support to the protesting farmers at Delhi," said another farmer from Igatpuri.

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Free Press Journal