Business Standard

After Anna, three girls on indefinite hunger strike to press for farmers' demands

IANS  |  Ahmednagar (Maharashtra) 

They may not have Anna Hazare's charisma, but Puntamba's girls are high on

Just a day before ended his high-profile week-long fast in Ralegan Siddhi on Tuesday, Nikita, launched their own indefinite hunger strike to press for farmers' demands in Puntamba village here.

Hailing from farming families -- Nikita (20), Shubhangi and Poonam Jadhav (both 19) -- are friends. While Nikita is a in Pune, are studying science in Ahmednagar.

"On February 3, we held a day-long token fast. From February 4, we are on an indefinite hunger strike till the farmers' demands are conceded," a determined Nikita told IANS.

She said the demands include full waiver of all farm loans, minimum support price for farm produce, pension for all farmers above 60 years of age, free power for agricultural purposes, GST waiver on all and machinery, raising procurement prices of milk which are now lower than soft drinks available in the market.

The trio's fast has garnered widespread support with Puntamba observing a voluntary shutdown on Wednesday, schools and villagers taking out protest marches and neighbouring villages expressing solidarity.

On Thursday, the villagers launched a begging drive, collected Rs 460 and sent it to Devendra Fadnavis, and now similar drives are being organised in and districts.

A rattled district administration swung into action on Friday and shifted Shubhangi to a hospital claiming her condition had deteriorated.

"She spoke to us from the hospital and said she is being virtually held captive there though her condition is okay," said Nikita, even as officials built up 'pressure' through relatives and friends to make the Jadhav trio call off their strike.

On Friday afternoon, for Home visited the fasting girls, but left without any settlement as he had "no concrete proposals.

Incidentally, Friday was also the day when 25 years ago activist formally raised the farmers' issues and suicides in the Yavatmal district.

To mark the occasion, a dozen odd girls -- all daughters of farmers -- also met the Jadhavs requesting them to join their protest.

Both the and the have expressed their support for the girls, and is also likely to visit them in a day or two.

Nobody from Anna Hazare's side has contacted or met them so far, though they are in the same district, barely two hours away.

"We have demanded that unless all our demands are conceded, we shall continue with our agitation since the farmers have been deprived of their rights for too long," a grim Nikita said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 19:56 IST