Last time Mumbai was humbled was over 30,000 farmers marched in silent protest to India's urbs prima. November 2018. In a bid to scuttle the demands and protests, the Phadnavis government hastily agreed to the demands. Now, barely four months later, with all demands unfulfilled, in a clear bid to stop the AIKS-led second Kisan Long March in Maharashtra against the betrayal of farmers by the BJP's central and state governments, the government has taken recourse to repression. The AIKS has alleged that the state general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale is under threat of arrest. Overnight criminal cases have been lodged against him.
This second Long March, which will begin from Nashik on February 20, the martyrdom anniversary of Comrade Govind Pansare, and will end in Mumbai on February 27, the martyrdom anniversary of Chandrashekhar Azad, is expected to be at least double in size compared to the one held last year. In Ahmednagar, a large farmers' convention was held on February 13 to prepare for the Long March and a memorandum was submitted to the district collector. Nowhere was there any breach of peace. All necessary police permissions were taken.
The AIKS, through a statement issued by its president, Ashok Dhawale, has condemned this act of the government as an attempt to crush a democratic and peaceful satyagraha struggle. The AIKS warns that such repressive attempts of the government will not succeed in stopping the Long March. The statement says that the government should realise that farmers' issues can be solved by accepting their just demands and by implementing them.
"Farmers in Maharashtra will not rest until the major issues that are being taken up in this second Long March in two years are resolved. These are: immediate relief in the grim drought situation, issues of irrigation, land rights, complete liberation from debt, MSP at one and a half times the full cost of production, a pro-farmer crop insurance scheme, increased pension, ration and food security," concludes the statement.