The Mumbai police is leaving no stone unturned to maintain law and order as thousands of farmers converged at the Azad Maidan here after walking around 180 km from Nashik to press for their various demands.
More than 35,000 farmers from across Maharashtra, who embarked on a 'Long March' last Tuesday, reached the Azad Maidan early today, after camping at the K J Somaiya Ground in Sion area.
"Some more farmers are expected to join the march from neighbouring districts. The police personnel are on their toes and prepared enough to maintain law and order," Deven Bharti, the joint-commissioner of police (crime), told PTI.
"The march has came all the way peacefully to the country's financial capital," Bharti said, adding that the police hope to disperse the protesters also in a peaceful manner.
As a huge number of protesters have gathered in the city, the police is keeping a tab to ward off any possible anti-social elements from taking advantage of the situation, another official said.
Since the farmers entered the city limits yesterday, heavy security was deployed all along their route, he said.
The cultivators had earlier planned to move to their destination in the morning, but they reached the Azad Maidan in the early hours, so that students appearing for their board exams were not hassled due to traffic jams, said Ashok Dhawale, president of the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), which has organised the protest.
"We expect all our demands to be fulfilled, including loan waiver and others," AIKS member and CPI(M) MLA Jiva Pandu Gavit said.
"We will not leave the city, and gherao the Vidhan Bhawan, until the state government does not fulfil our demands," Gavit added.
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