Thursday, 18 July 2019 01:15 GMT
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Farmers call off protest after govt assurances




(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Thousands of farmers who gathered in Mumbai to protest against their treatment by the government, called off their protest yesterday, saying they had received written assurances from officials.
More than 35,000 farmers walked 180km over four days from Nashik in Maharashtra to the state capital as part of the protest.
They want their debts to state-run banks to be written off, a government-supported minimum price for crops and ownership rights to forest land they have tilled for decades, among other demands.
Parts of Maharashtra have faced severe drought and a water crisis for years followed by unseasonal rains that destroyed crops.
More than 2,400 farmers committed suicide in 2017, according to official figures.
'We have won a major victory with a written assurance from the government on major issues. This was signed by the chief secretary (in the state government) and tabled in the state assembly, Ashok Dhawale, president of the farmers' federation, the All India Kisan Sabha, said.
'We have made some definite progress, especially on land titles, prices and pensions... there has been a forward movement, Dhawale said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said discussions with the farmers' leaders were positive and immediate steps were being taken on several of their demands.
The demonstration was co-ordinated by the organisation which is affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Mumbai's Azad Maidan grounds, where the farmers gathered at midnight to avoid disrupting the city's busy morning traffic, was a sea of red flags yesterday.
There were women and children among the marchers many of whom could be seen nursing sore feet after the long march.
Groups of farmers could be seen beating drums and dancing at the Azad Maidan grounds as the news came in.
The women's presence in the 'long march, as the rally was dubbed, was significant, analysts said.

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Farmers call off protest after govt assurances

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