Farmers’ long march condemns right-wing hate ‘morchas’ in Maharashtra, calls for peace

The AIKS led farmers march issues statement against rising instances of hate speeches in Maharashtra, calls for solidarity

issues statement

First Published on 16th March

The All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the outfit who has been spearheading the long protest march on foot from Nashik to Mumbai, consisting of 10,000 farmers for demanding better prices for their crops as well as changes to export policies has issued a statement against the rising instances of hate speeches in Maharashtra. 

In their statement, they have strongly condemned the consistent attempts to stigmatise minority communities and allow hate speeches with provocative calls all over the state. They have highlighted how, since December 14, 2022, 21 such hate events have been allowed by the district and political administration in the state of Maharashtra while issues such as rising prices, spiraling unemployment and the unresolved agrarian crisis has remained ignored.

Through their statement, they have called for the citizens and the democratic organisations of Maharashtra to take mass action against such hate and counter this systemic hate propaganda with messages of solidarity, hope, sisterhood and camaraderie. The statement bore the sign of  the AIKS president Ashok Dhavale, amongst others.

The statement further states, “With its glorious history of labour and peasant movements and leaders like Phule, Shahu and Ambedkar, progressive Maharashtra is under threat from right-wing, regressive forces of hate. We do not want divisions among our people in Maharashtra. We want solidarity and peace in our state. The vast majority of Maharashtrians and Indians are committed to the values of equality, fraternity and non-discrimination embedded in our Constitution.”

The full statement can be viewed here:

The long protest for rights and the difficult path ahead

The protesters set out on foot from Ambebahula village, 15 kilometers from Nashik, on a cloudy Tuesday morning. They walked, brisk and determined, waving red flags and wearing Communist Party India (Marxist) red caps, maintaining strict discipline and distance along the route. Their 17-point charter of demands included a demand for better prices, particularly for onions, cotton, soyabean, tur, green gram, milk, and hirda. The marchers demanded Rs 2000 per quintal for onions and an immediate subsidy of Rs 600 per quintal, as well as changes to export policies. The marchers also demanded that forest land, pasture, temple, inam, waqf, and benami land be vested in the names of cultivators. 

It was reported that on Monday, on March 13, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had reached out to AIKS for a dialogue, but the meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday evening. Following that, the meeting was rescheduled again for Wednesday due to a strike call by government employees.

According to the Indian Express, protester Devidas Hadat wondered how any government could be so indifferent to the problems of poor adivasis, pointing to the presence of a large number of senior citizens and women in the protests. “We will not be swayed solely by promises this time. They must be implemented on the ground in order to benefit adivasis/farmers, and then we will call off the strike,” the protestor had said, as was reported by the Indian Express.


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