The ongoing agitation by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) turned violent on Friday after incidents of setting sugarcane farms on fire were reported in Pune and Satara districts. The stir by farmers demanding higher minimum support price (MSP) of sugarcane has refused to die down in western Maharashtra. Sangli district collector Deependra Singh Khushwah has declared the district tense till November 21.
In Indapur, two acres of sugarcane farm, reportedly owned by state cooperation minister Harshavardhan Patil, was set on fire by unidentified persons on Thursday night. Patil’s relative Mangesh Patil’s five acres of sugarcane farm was also set on fire near Gaikwadvasti.
The Indapur police have registered a case against unidentified persons in the fire case. Similar incident was reported in Satara district also where SSS member Ajit Shewale’s half-acre farm of sugarcane was set on fire in Pachwad. SSS district president Shankar Shinde has alleged that the farm was set on fire deliberately and a case has been lodged with Bhuinj police station.
Meanwhile, Shetkari Sanghatana leader Sharad Joshi has threatened to launch a massive agitation if the state government does not hold talks with the agitators by November 21. Joshi was in Sangli on Friday where he visited the family of Chandrakant Nalawade who was killed in the police firing during the agitation. He has also demanded a CBI inquiry into the police firing that took place on Monday.
Meanwhile, amid the tense situation, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) started its regular operations in the affected districts on Friday. The services in Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur were suspended by the state transport department after its buses were targeted by the agitators. On the fifth day of the agitation, no incident of attack on ST buses was reported on Friday.