Farmers, MLA detained during protest march to Raj Bhavan

Mumbai: Several farmers and a newly- elected MLA were detained on Thursday when they took out a protest march towards the governor’s house in Mumbai over various demands, including crop loan waiver, police said.

Bachchu Kadu, the Prahar Janshakti Party head who won the last month’s state poll from Achalpur in Amravati district, led the march to raise concern over various problems of cultivators, including non-payment of crop insurance, loan waiver and crop damage due to the recent unseasonal rains.

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Kadu and the farmers had planned to stage a protest at Raj Bhavan at Malabar Hill in South Mumbai, to put forth their demands before Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari as the state is under President’s rule since Tuesday.

But, they were detained at Marine Drive in south Mumbai, a police official said, without specifying the number of cultivators taken into custody. Untimely rains damaged crops on over 70 lakh hectare of land in the state, an official earlier said.

The state recently approved Rs10,000 crore as a special provision to provide immediate assistance to farmers affected by the unseasonal showers.

Notably, Independent MLA Omprakash Babarao Kadu alias Bacchu Kadu was arrested by Marine Drive Police on Thursday during a protest demanding to declare drought in Maharashtra.

Police said, when the officials of Malabar Hill and Marine Drive police station went to issue a notice of imposing sections of unlawful assembly, the protesters gathered around and started ranting anti-police slogans.

Moreover, the protesters also began throwing the flags, crops and onions in agitation, after which Marine Drive police arrested Bacchu Kadu and five others and booked them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for unlawful assembly. They were later released on bail.