Mumbai, March 12: She is one among the hundreds of women who left their homes to take part in the farmers' protest in Mumbai, Maharashtra on Monday. She is a mother of a newborn baby. The tragedy is that she can't breastfeed her child because she herself is on an empty stomach. Such is the agony of a young woman from Nashik district that she decided to leave her baby at home to register her protest against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government which has failed to address the agrarian crisis in the state.
A tweet by noted journalist Rana Ayyub states that a woman (a nameless mother) has decided to join the farmers' protest after her cotton farm was destroyed by a pest attack. The woman farmer's family had taken two loans from a local bank. Still, nothing solved her problem. Her difficulties grew with each passing day. She is so poor that she can't even feed her month-old child because "most days she sleeps on an empty stomach."
"A new mother has left her month old baby home to walk with the #KisanLongMarch . Her cotton farm was destroyed by a pest attack, the family had taken two loans from a local cooperative bank. She cannot feed her newborn because most days she sleeps on an empty stomach," tweeted Ayyub.
A new mother has left her month old baby home to walk with the #KisanLongMarch . Her cotton farm was destroyed by a pest attack, the family had taken two loans from a local cooperative bank. She cannot feed her newborn because most days she sleeps on an empty stomach.— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) March 11, 2018
Such reports, highlighting the deplorable situation of debt-ridden farmers of Maharashtra, are telling reminders that the system has badly failed the farming community of the country.
On Monday, at least 50,000 farmers from Nashik district are waiting for a response from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai's Azad Maidan. The protesting farmers are demanding a complete loan waiver, fair pay, implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report and transfer of Adivasi land to farmers, to name a few.
On March 6, the agitating farmers started their foot march from Nashik to Mumbai. The farmers on foot covered a distance of 180 km under the blazing sun with little food, water and sleep. Holding red flags and shouting slogans, the peaceful demonstration by farmers has woken up the ruling BJP from its slumber. The CM has promised to talk to the farmer leaders and address their issues.
Last year in June, CM Fadnavis had announced loan waiver of Rs. 34,000 crore to pacify the agitating farmers. However, till now he did not fulfil his promise. Since the General elections and state Assembly elections are due next year, the BJP government is under tremendous pressure to honour the demands of the farmers.
Around 1,753 debt-ridden farmers have committed suicide in the western state since June last year, claims the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). The AIKS, affiliated to the Left, has organised the farmers' protest.