Mumbai: Over 15,000 farmers affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha and various other farmer organisations from 21 districts reached Azad Maidan on Sunday evening. A sea of farmers, which also comprised women and youths waving flags and carrying banners, meandered through the 7km Kasara Ghat connecting Nashik and Thane districts on foot, followed by hundreds of their vehicles. On the way to Mumbai, they were welcomed at the Kalyan-Bhiwandi crossroad, at Thane border and at Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli, before they reached Azad Maidan.
The farmers had set off on Saturday, covering the 180 kilometres between Nashik and Mumbai on foot and by vehicle, stopping at Ghatandevi, Kasara, for the night.
They are protesting the Centre’s Farm Laws, 2020, and extending support to the agitating farmers who have been at Delhi borders for over two months now.
These farmers will join the sit-in organised by the Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha beginning on Monday, that will continue till Republic Day. Leaders from the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar and the AIKS national general secretary, Hannan Mollah, among others will address the rally. The state Congress unit, an ally of the MVA, has already extended its support to the protest. However, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will be unable to make it owing to prior engagements.
After the rally, farmers will march to the Raj Bhawan and submit a memorandum to the governor, pushing for a repeal of the Central farm laws and all four labour codes, withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill and enactment of a law ensuring fair guarantee price to farmers.
The AIKS general secretary (Maharashtra), Ajit Nawale, said the agitation would conclude on Republic Day with the hoisting of the national flag, the singing of the national anthem and a pledge to ensure that the current struggle of farmers and workers would be victorious at all costs. He noted that a three-day march started on Saturday coincided with farmers from all across the country marching towards Delhi to take part in the 'Kisan Gantantra Parade' on the occasion of Republic Day. Tractors from Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan have reached the Tikri border for the event.