Agitating onion farmers pelt stones at policemen

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Malegaon (Maha), Feb 3 (PTI) Police today used canesto disperse stone pelting farmers who were protesting againstthe low wholesale price of onions being offered by thestate-run agri-marketing committee.

The onion farmers blocked Mumbai-Agra National Highwayleading the police to cane-charge them. Nearly half a dozenpolicemen were injured in stone pelting, police said.

The agriculturists said they were being offered aprice of just Rs 135 per quintal of onion by the AgricultureProduce Market Committee (APMC) at Mungse near here in NorthMaharashtra. They were demanding a minimum price of Rs 500.

The wholesale rate was Rs 4,000 a quintal a fortnight ago.

According to police, farmers brought onions in 500tractors and bullock carts at APMC yard for auction. Unhappywith the low price being offered, they boycotted the auctionand staged a "rasta roko" on the busy highway.

When police asked them to clear the highway, theprotesters pelted stones at them. Inspector Chandrakant Kambleand five other policemen were injured, they said, adding theagitating farmers also damaged a police jeep.

At least 20 farmers have been rounded up, police said.

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