‘Chakka Jam’ blocks Maha highways, ends peacefully

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Farmers leader Kishore Tiwari detained by police while leading Chakka Jaam.

Thousands of peasants, workers, tribals, political and social activists, including many women, took to the roads and highways across Maharashtra as part of the nationwide ‘Chakka Jaam’, to demand scrapping of the three farm laws and express solidarity with the farmers’ protests in Delhi, here on Saturday.

Activists blocked prominent roads, state or national highways and other important thoroughfares in 34 of the state’s 36 districts – including Mumbai and excluding Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg – squatted and halted traffic, waved banners and placards, shouted slogans and sang devotional or patriotic songs, amid tight police security, according to All India Kisan Sabha spokesperson P.S. Prasad.

Barring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the agitation saw the participation of all major parties like Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, the Left parties, farmers’ organisations like All India Kisan Sabha, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, Bharatiya Kisan Sena, etc.

“The agitation was near-total in places like Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Pune, Kolhapur, Solapur, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Osmanabad, and others with farmers, workers and political activists participating peacefully in huge numbers,” Prasad told IANS.

After the scheduled three-hours, the agitation was called off peacefully with activists and participants returning to their homes and normal vehicular traffic resumed at all the affected sport, said officials.

Earlier this afternoon, police detained farmers’ leader and Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission President, Kishore Tiwari, who is accorded a MoS status, while leading a ‘chakka jam’ protest on the national highway in Yavatmal.

Leading an agitation in Kolhapur, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) President Raju Shetti said that the so-called celebrities speaking in favour of the BJP-ruled central government forget that it is the “crores of ordinary masses” who have raised them to their celeb status.

“These people are doing a lot of ‘teev-teev’ (referring to the tweets), but once the people dump them, even a dog won’t sniff at the celebs,” Shetti warned.

He warned that the farmers agitation would be intensified by laying siege to the income tax and GST offices if the government fails to revoke the three farm laws.

While All India Kisan Sabha leaders like Ashok Dhawale, Ajit Nawale, led the protestors in different districts, CPI(M) legislator Vinod B. Nikole led the blockade by hundreds of farmers and labourers on the highway in Ahmednagar.

Expressing support to the farmers in Delhi, NCP State President Jayant Patil said this is the first time in Independent India that a central government was “hiding from the people” in such a manner.

“The government is scared to face the people, the farmers and the workers. Hence it is resorting to tactics like hammering nails and barricades on roads” Patil said.

In Nashik, SSS state president Sandeep Jagtap spearheaded the ‘chakka jam’, Buldhana SSS leader Prashant Dikkar led the protestors on the highways.

‘Chakka jam’ were organised in other districts like Jalna, Beed, Latur, Nagpur, Nanded, Washim, Parbhani, Nandurbar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Gadchiroli, Amravati, by various leaders, affecting traffic movement to Union Territories of Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, states of Goa, Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat.