Friday, March 16, 2018


Ashok Dhawale

It was truly an amazing struggle, the like of which has not been seen in Maharashtra in recent times. It caught the imagination of the peasantry and the people, and received their unstinted support, not only in the state but all over the country. It received the backing of parties and organisations all across the political spectrum. For the week from March 6 to 12 that the Long March of nearly 200 Km lasted, it became the centre of attraction for the entire national and state media, both print and electronic, and also the social media. #KisanLongMarch was the number one trending All India hashtag the whole day March 12.

Beginning at Nashik with over 25,000 farmers marching in unison, including thousands of peasant women, it concluded in Mumbai with over 50,000 farmers. Red flags of the Kisan Sabha, red banners, red caps and red placards highlighting the main demands of this Long March, made it a huge ocean of red. By far the largest mobilisation was that of thousands of Adivasi peasants from Nashik district, under the inspiring leadership of AIKS former state president J P Gavit, MLA. The next was that from Thane-Palghar district, followed by Ahmednagar district. There was representation from several other districts in the state, which rose markedly in the last two days of the Long March.

The Long March was the culmination of three years of constant struggle led by the AIKS in Maharashtra, which has been briefly outlined in these columns last week. Meticulous preparations for the Long March, including planning its logistics to the last detail were carried out by the AIKS collective state leadership right from February 16, when the decision was taken at the extended meeting of the AIKS state council at Sangli. Grains, oil and firewood for the food of the participants was collected from the villages themselves. Water tankers for drinking were stationed at various points along the way. An ambulance with a doctors’ team and the necessary medicines was kept along with the Long March.

The way that tens of thousands of poor and landless peasants, along with their leaders, marched with determination 30 to 40 Km per day for seven days in the searing heat of the sun, hundreds of them without footwear on tar roads, with bruised and bleeding feet, evoked not only massive public support for their cause, but also massive public anger against the callous and insensitive BJP-led state government.

All this was reflected in the overwhelming response from the working class, the middle class, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs and all other sections in Mumbai and Thane cities. The Long March was not only welcomed with open arms in several localities, but the people themselves donated generously in both cash and kind in both these cities. The CITU, AIDWA, DYFI and SFI in Mumbai and Thane-Palghar districts launched a mass campaign amongst the people in support of this Long March, but the mass response went far, far beyond that.   

The magnificent humanitarian decision of the AIKS of walking day and night on the last day, from 11 am on March 11 to 6 am on March 12, from Thane city to Azad Maidan in the heart of Mumbai city, to avoid disrupting the final board examinations of tens of thousands of SSC students in Mumbai, drew the unstinted admiration of people across the country. Several prominent celebrities in India also expressed their appreciation at this gesture.

All this put tremendous pressure on the BJP-led state government. On March 12, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, ministers Chandrakant Patil, Girish Mahajan, Eknath Shinde, Pandurang Fundkar, Subhash Deshmukh and Vishnu Savra, along with a battery of top officials of various departments, held a three hour discussion with Kisan Sabha leaders in the Vidhan Bhavan. Also present during the discussions were leaders from the opposition benches Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (Congress), Dhananjay Munde, Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare (NCP).
General secretary of the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) Jayant Patil, MLC, and state president of the Janata Dal (Sharad Yadav group), Kapil Patil, MLC, who had helped the Kisan Sabha struggle, were also present during the discussions.

The Kisan Sabha delegation included Dr Ashok Dhawale, J P Gavit, MLA, CITU former state president Narasayya Adam, ex-MLA, Kisan Gujar, Dr Ajit Nawale, Subhash Choudhari, Savliram Pawar, Sunil Malusare, Irfan Shaikh, Ratan Budhar, Barkya Mangat, Radka Kalangda, Umesh Deshmukh, Sidhappa Kalshetty, Vilas Babar and DYFI state vice president Indrajeet Gavit. Almost all the above are AIKS state office bearers who actually walked in the Long March, along with AIAWU state leader Manohar Muley and CITU state leader Vinod Nikole.

In the light of earlier bitter experiences with the present government, the Kisan Sabha had taken the clear position right in the beginning that it would not withdraw this struggle without official written assurances. These written assurances on all the demands were given within an hour of the conclusion of the talks, with the signature of the chief secretary of the state government. Three ministers of the state government – Chandrakant Patil and Girish Mahajan of the BJP and Eknath Shinde of the Shiv Sena –  came to the victory rally at Azad Maidan and pledged to implement the agreement that had been reached. The Kisan Sabha also insisted that the agreement arrived at should be placed on the table of the House by the chief minister in the state assembly that was then in session. Accordingly, the chief minister tabled that agreement in the House on March 13.

Concrete assurances have been given by the government on AIKS demands concerning the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), river linking proposal adversely affecting tribals in Nashik, Palghar and Thane districts, loan waiver to farmers, remunerative prices, temple lands, pasture lands, old-age pensions, the public distribution system, compensation to lakhs of farmers in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions who have suffered huge losses of the cotton crop due to pink bollworm pest attacks, hailstorms and on other issues. The details of the demands conceded will be given in these columns next week.    

The resounding AIKS victory rally of over 50,000 farmers at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on the evening of March 12 was addressed by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, ex-MP, CPI(M) state secretary Narasayya Adam, ex-MLA, PWP general secretary Jayant Patil, MLC, Janata Dal (Sharad Yadav group) state president Kapil Patil, MLC, former AIKS president Amra Ram, ex-MLA, AIKS joint secretaries K K Ragesh, MP, and Vijoo Krishnan, renowned journalist P Sainath, CPI(M) central committee member Mahendra Singh, AIDWA general secretary Mariam Dhawale and vice president Sudha Sundararaman, CITU vice president Dr D L Karad, and by leaders of this Long March - AIKS president Dr Ashok Dhawale, AIKS former state president J P Gavit, MLA, AIKS state president Kisan Gujar and AIKS state general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale – and, earlier in the day by other leaders of the AIKS, CITU, AIAWU, AIDWA, DYFI, SFI and by a wide spectrum of the supporting political parties, organisations and individuals.

All the farmers left Mumbai on the night of March 12, with tremendous confidence generated by this victory, buttressed equally with deep gratitude towards the people of the state and the country who had supported them to the hilt in this struggle. The massive nationwide public response to this Long March was an acknowledgement of the valiant, peaceful and democratic struggle waged by the peasants under Kisan leadership. It was also a reflection of the fact that their demands of land rights, loan waiver, remunerative prices and pension, which were essentially directed against the neo-liberal policies of the BJP-led governments in the state and the centre, were actually the demands of the peasantry of India as a whole.

One battle has been won, but the war still remains. And after the victory in this battle, it shall be fought with even greater grit and determination all over the country!         
(The concrete demands won by this struggle will be carried in these columns soon)


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

किसान सभेच्या लॉंग मार्चची नाशिकहून दणक्यात सुरुवात!

आज दुपारी ४.३० वाजता नाशिकच्या मुख्य सी.बी.एस. चौकातून अखिल भारतीय किसान सभेच्या नेतृत्वाखाली हजारो हजार शेतकऱ्यांच्या जबरदस्त लॉंग मार्चची प्रचंड निर्धारात सुरुवात झाली. पुरुष शेतकऱ्यांच्या खांद्याला खांदा लावून हजारो शेतकरी महिलाही या लॉंग मार्चमध्ये मुंबईपर्यंत त्वेषाने चालत आहेत हे त्याचे वैशिष्ट्य आहे. लाल झेंडे, लाल फलक आणि लाल बॅनर्सनी संपूर्ण परिसर लालेलाल झाला आहे. भाजप सरकारने केलेल्या शेतकऱ्यांच्या विश्वासघाताचा तीव्र निषेध करणाऱ्या आणि कर्जमुक्ती, वनाधिकार, शेतीमालाला रास्त भाव, नदीजोड प्रश्न, पेन्शन, रेशन, बोण्डअळी व गारपीटग्रस्ताना भरपाई इत्यादी ज्वलंत मागण्यांच्या गगनभेदी घोषणा दिल्या जात आहेत. 

डॉ. अशोक ढवळे, आ. जे.पी. गावीत, विजू कृष्णन, किसन गुजर, डॉ. अजित नवले, सावळीराम पवार, सुभाष चौधरी, इरफान शेख, सुनील मालुसरे, बारक्या मांगात, रडका कलांगडा, रतन बुधर, विलास बाबर हे किसान सभेचे राज्य पदाधिकारी या लॉंग मार्चचे नेतृत्व करत आहेत. सुरुवातीला झालेल्या सभेत किसान सभेच्या नेत्यांव्यतिरिक्त शेकापच्या ज्येष्ठ नेत्या माजी आमदार मिनाक्षीताई पाटील, सीटूचे राज्य अध्यक्ष डॉ डी एल कराड, आयटकचे नेते राजू देसले यांनी या लॉंग मार्चला पाठिंबा दिला. 

आज रात्रीचा मुक्काम वालदेवी नदीच्या किनाऱ्यावर होईल आणि उद्या हा मार्च इगतपुरीकडे निघेल.


The massive Long March of the Maharashtra unit of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the curtain-raiser for which was published in these columns last week, began from the Central Bus Stand Chowk in Nashik city on March 6 at 4.30 pm with tens of thousands of farmers from all over the state. Its distinguishing feature was that thousands of peasant women were also part of the March and they will walk all the way of 200 Km to Mumbai.

The entire area was decorated with hundreds of red flags, red banners and red placards giving the demands of the March. Thousands of farmers had worn red headgear (called topis in Marathi) that was specially prepared by the AIKS for this March. The entire area had turned into an ocean of red. Resounding slogans were given condemning the BJP state government's callous betrayal of its own assurances given to the peasantry on the issues of farm loan waiver, remunerative prices, implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA), pension to poor farmers and agricultural workers and many other issues during the last two years.

The Long March is being led by AIKS national president Dr Ashok Dhawale, national joint secretary Dr Vijoo Krishnan, former state president J P Gavit, MLA, state president Kisan Gujar, state general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale and other state office bearers. 

The Long March was flagged off in a huge public meeting that was addressed by the above AIKS leaders, along with senior Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) leader and ex-state Minister Meenakshi Patil, CITU state president Dr D L Karad and AITUC leader Raju Desle.

All the speakers castigated the BJP state and central governments for their anti-peasant, anti-people and pro-corporate policies and for their communal and casteist conspiracies. 

The speakers also denounced the attacks by RSS-BJP hoodlums on CPI(M) and Left activists and supporters in Tripura immediately after the announcement of the state assembly election results. They also condemned the pulling down of the statue of Lenin by these hoodlums and warned that this could well be a precursor to the pulling down of statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, E V Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar), Bhagat Singh and other progressive and secular icons by the fascistic forces of the Sangh Parivar if they get absolute power in the country. 

On the first night, the March walked a distance of nearly 20 Km and stopped near the Valdevi river in Nashik tehsil. The peasants had been told to get their food of chatni-bhakri (made from Jowar or Bajra) with them for the first two days and they had their food at night. All of them slept on the maidan at the side of the Mumbai-Nashik-Indore-Agra-Delhi national highway. For the March so far, the police have been forced to block one entire side of the national highway to all traffic, leaving it free for the agitators.

The March began early this morning, March 7, and is proceeding towards Igatpuri in Nashik district. It will then enter Shahapur tehsil in Thane district, where a big contingent of farmers from Thane-Palghar district will join the March. A large number of peasants from other districts of Maharashtra will join the March at Mumbai when it reaches there on March 12 to gherao the state assembly which will then be in session.

The Kisan Sabha Long March has been getting excellent publicity in both the electronic as well as print media.

-Ashok Dhawale

 March begins in Nashik, 6th March, 4:30 pm

Night photo of long march

Monday, March 5, 2018

६ मार्च रोजी हजारो हजार शेतकऱ्यांचा नाशिक ते मुंबई लॉंग मार्च

६ मार्च रोजी हजारो हजार शेतकऱ्यांचा नाशिक ते मुंबई लॉंग मार्च

विधान भवनाला बेमुदत घेराव !

किसान सभेची आरपार लढ्याची घोषणा !

सरकारी धोरणे व नैसर्गिक आपत्तींमुळे शेतकरी हतबल झाले आहेत. खचून जाऊन आत्महत्या करत आहेत. शेतकऱ्यांवर कोसळलेल्या या संकटाच्या काळात सरकार मात्र शेतकऱ्यांच्या मागे उभे राहण्याऐवजी फसव्या घोषणा करत आहे. सरकारच्या या फसवणुकीमुळे शेतकरी आणखी खचले आहेत. कर्जमाफीच्या घोषणेनंतरही आत्महत्या करत आहेत. कर्जमाफीच्या घोषणेनंतर राज्यात तब्बल १७५३ शेतकऱ्यांनी आत्महत्या केल्या आहेत. किसान सभेने या पार्श्वभूमीवर शेतकऱ्यांच्या प्रश्नांसाठी पुन्हा एकदा आरपार लढा करण्याचा निर्णय घेतला आहे.

लढ्याच्या पहिल्या टप्प्यात किसान सभेच्या नेतृत्वाखाली विधानसभा अधिवेशन काळात राज्यभरातून हजारो हजार शेतकरी नाशिक येथून मुंबई विधानसभेवर पायी चालत येत लॉंग मार्च काढणार आहेत. दिनांक ६ मार्च २०१८ रोजी दुपारी ३ वाजता सीबीएस चौक, नाशिक येथून या लॉंग मार्चची सुरुवात होणार आहे. नाशिक येथून मुंबई पर्यंत पायी चालत आलेले हे शेतकरी अधिवेशन सुरू असताना विधानसभेला बेमुदत महाघेराव घालणार आहेत. मागण्या मान्य होईपर्यंत हा बेमुदत घेराव सुरू राहणार आहे.

किसान सभेने मार्च २०१६ मध्ये नाशिक येथे एक लाख शेतकऱ्यांचा महामुक्काम सत्याग्रह केला होता. नाशिक येथील सी.बी.एस. चौकात राज्यभरातील एक लाख शेतकऱ्यांनी दोन दिवस केलेल्या या महामुक्काम सत्याग्रहाने शेतकऱ्यांचे प्रश्न दोन वर्षापूर्वी सरकारसमोर मांडले होते. महामुक्कामाच्या पार्श्वभूमीवर मुख्यमंत्री देवेंद्र फडणवीस यांनी शेतकऱ्यांच्या मागण्या मान्य केल्या होत्या. मे २०१६चा ठाणे शहरातील हजारो शेतकऱ्यांचा तिरडी मोर्चा, ऑक्टोबर २०१६ मध्ये वाडा, जि. पालघर येथे ५० हजार शेतकऱ्यांनी आदिवासी विकास मंत्र्यांच्या घराला दोन दिवस टाकलेला महाघेराव, मराठवाड्यात औरंगाबाद आणि विदर्भात खामगाव येथे हजारो शेतकऱ्यांनी केलेली राज्यस्तरीय आंदोलने आणि १ जून २०१७च्या संयुक्त व ऐतिहासिक शेतकरी संपाच्या पार्श्वभूमीवरही सरकारने या मागण्या पूर्ण करण्याची घोषणा केली होती. 

प्रत्यक्षात मात्र सरकारने या मागण्या पूर्ण केल्या नाहीत. उलट शेतकऱ्यांची वारंवार अत्यंत जीवघेणी फसवणूक केली आहे. किसान सभेने या पार्श्वभूमीवर नाशिकच्या याच सी.बी.एस. चौकात पुन्हा एकदा हजारो हजार शेतकऱ्यांना एकत्र करत विधान भवनावर चालत जाण्याचा संकल्प केला आहे. दिनांक ६ मार्च रोजी राज्यभरातील हे शेतकरी नाशिक येथून चालत मुंबईकडे निघणार आहेत. शेतकऱ्यांचा हा लॉंग मार्च मुंबई येथे पोहचल्यानंतर विधानभवनाला घेराव घालणार आहे. मागण्या धसास लागल्याशिवाय हा घेराव मागे घेतला जाणार नाही.

कसत असलेल्या वनजमिनी शेतकऱ्यांच्या नावे करा, कष्टकरी शेतकऱ्यांना विनाअट संपूर्ण कर्जमुक्ती दया, शेतीमालाला दीडपट भावाची हमी दया, स्वामिनाथन आयोगाच्या रास्त भावाच्या शिफारशींची अंमलबजावणी करा, वनाधिकार कायद्याची संपूर्ण अंमलबजावणी करा, पुनर्वसनाचे प्रश्न निर्माण न करता पश्चिम वाहिनी नद्यांचे समुद्राला मिळणारे पाणी पूर्वेकडे वळवून महाराष्ट्रातील शेतकऱ्यांना शेतीला पाणी दया, बोंड आळी व गारपिटीने नुकसान झालेल्या शेतकऱ्यांना एकरी किमान ४० हजार रुपये भरपाई दया, शेतकऱ्यांचे वीजबिल माफ करा, दुधाला किमान ४० रुपये भाव मिळेल यासाठी तातडीने हस्तक्षेप करा, साखरेच्या भावात हस्तक्षेप करून उसाला कारखान्यांनी हंगाम सुरू होताना जाहीर केलेला भाव देणे बंधनकारक करा, विकास कामांच्या बहाण्याने शेतकऱ्यांच्या जमिनी त्यांच्याकडून काढून घेण्याचे कारस्थान बंद करा या प्रमुख मागण्यांसाठी हा लॉंग मार्च व बेमुदत घेराव करण्यात येणार आहेत. 

डॉ. अशोक ढवळे, आ.जे.पी.गावीत, किसन गुजर, अर्जुन आडे, डॉ. अजित नवले, सुनील मालुसरे, बारक्या मांगात, इरफान शेख, सावळीराम पवार, सुभाष चौधरी, रतन बुधर, रडका कलांगडा, इंद्रजीत गावीत आदी या आंदोलनाचे नेतृत्व करणार आहेत. 

किसान सभेचे राष्ट्रीय सहसचिव विजू कृष्णन ६ मार्चपासून पहिले तीन दिवस या लॉंग मार्च मध्ये असणार आहेत आणि मुंबईत १२ मार्च रोजी किसान सभेचे राष्ट्रीय महासचिव माजी खासदार हनन मोल्ला, आदिवासी अधिकार राष्ट्रीय मंचाचे राष्ट्रीय निमंत्रक खासदार जितेंद्र चौधरी, मार्क्सवादी कम्युनिस्ट पक्षाचे राज्य सचिव व केंद्रीय कमिटी सदस्य माजी आमदार नरसय्या आडम, केंद्रीय कमिटी सदस्य महेंद्र सिंह, अखिल भारतीय जनवादी महिला संघटनेच्या राष्ट्रीय महासचिव मरियम ढवळे हे प्रमुख जण भाग घेतील.
डॉ. अशोक ढवळे     (अखिल भारतीय अध्यक्ष, किसान सभा) 

आ.जे.पी.गावित      (माजी राज्य अध्यक्ष, किसान सभा)    

किसन गुजर         (राज्य अध्यक्ष, किसान सभा)        

अर्जुन आडे          (राज्य कार्याध्यक्ष, किसान सभा) 
डॉ. अजित नवले     (राज्य सरचिटणीस, किसान सभा)    

Sunday, March 4, 2018


The Maharashtra unit of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) will begin a massive 'Long March' of tens of thousands of farmers tomorrow, March 6 at 3 pm from the CBS Chowk at Nashik. It will cover a distance of nearly 200 Km and will reach Mumbai on March 12. Here the peasants will indefinitely gherao the state assembly which is in session until their demands are met.

The Long March has been organised to denounce the BJP state government for betraying all its assurances given to the peasantry during the last two years on issues like farm loan waiver, remunerative prices, recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission and the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

It will also demand the following: Complete change in the river linking scheme proposed to be started in Nashik, Thane and Palghar districts, so as to ensure that tribal villages are not submerged and water is made available to these districts and to other drought-prone districts in the state; opposition to acquisition of peasants' lands in the name of fancy and elitist projects of the rulers like the bullet train and super highways; temple lands and pasture lands to be vested in the names of the tillers; increase in pension schemes to poor peasants and agricultural workers; compensation for great losses sustained by peasants due to pest attacks and hailstorms; and burning issues connected to the public distribution system (PDS). 

The Long March will be led by AIKS National President Dr Ashok Dhawale, former State President J P Gavit, MLA, State President Kisan Gujar, state Working President Arjun Ade, state General Secretary Dr Ajit Nawale and all other state office bearers.

AIKS National Joint Secretary Vijoo Krishnan will join the March for the first three days from March 6 and AIKS National General Secretary Hannan Mollah, ex-MP,  Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM) National Convenor Jitendra Choudhary, MP,  CPI(M) state secretary and central committee member Narasayya Adam, ex-MLA, CPI(M) central committee member Mahendra Singh and AIDWA National General Secretary Mariam Dhawale will be present for the culmination in Mumbai on March 12.

Coming in the background of massive independent and joint struggles of the AIKS in Maharashtra during the last two years - the one lakh strong two day siege at Nashik in March 2016, the huge Coffin Rally at Thane in May 2016, the 50,000-strong two day gherao of the Tribal Development Minister's house at Wada in Palghar district in October 2016, the large peasant actions at Aurangabad in Marathwada and Khamgaon in Vidarbha in May 2016 and May 2017, the united and historic 11 day farmers' strike in June 2017, the two lakh strong united statewide Road Blockade (Chakka Jaam) in August 2017 - this Long March will be yet another major struggle led by the AIKS in the state in defence of the peasantry and against the anti-farmer, anti-people, pro-corporate policies and the communal and casteist conspiracies of the RSS-BJP regime.