Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 29:
12 days after starting their agitation demanding price, prestige and pension, and a day after talks failed with Odisha Government, thousands of farmers under the banner of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) today started a massive Jail Bharo agitation in Bhubaneswar.
Their rally was stopped near PMG square and about 800-1000 farmers were taken into preventive custody after they attempted to gatecrash into the Assembly, said Bhubaneswar DCP Satyabrata Bhoi.
While many farmers fainted because of heat and exhaustion during the agitation, many others clashed with the cops. No injury has been reported from either side, however.
Police Commissioner YB Khurania was seen speaking to farmers in an attempt to contain the situation. Security has been beefed up around the area to avoid any untoward incident.
“If the state is a family, we are the breadwinners. This Government, however, has failed us. Farmers have committed suicide and everyone knows this. The families of the deceased deserve compensation. This would only be possible, if the government acknowledges that they committed suicide. But the government keeps denying it in order to hide its own failure. We would not back down anymore. Let them arrest us,” said Sarojini Majhi, a farmer while being taken away by the cops near Lower PMG.
“We are aware about the issues they have raised. Talks are on to work out a solution. We will take necessary steps in due course of time,” said BJD Spokesperson Amar Satpathy.
It may be mentioned here that seven BJD MLAs, including Satpathy and Sashi Bhusan Behera, had met the members of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) yesterday in lower PMG trying to convince them out of the agitation. State Convener of NKS Akshay Kumar, however, briefed the newsmen that the talks had failed as the government didn’t accept their demands.
The farmers have long been demanding payment of compensation to the families of farmers that committed suicide, provision of Rs 5,000 pension for farmers, better procurement facilities, higher minimum support price, better social recognition and drought compensation among others.