Vidarbha farm widows to join global ‘Candlelight Vigil’ in Mumbai today

By Pervez Bari,

Bhopal: To highlight the agrarian crisis and the unabated farmers’ suicides a “Candlelight Vigil” is being organised by Peace Mumbai and Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, (VJAS), tomorrow (2nd October) at Marine Drive in Mumbai on the occasion of Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi,

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The “Candlelight Vigil” is part of an international event being organized by Association for India’s Development,(AID), a USA-based NGO, in more than 200 cities across the world.

According to Jatin Desai, who is arranging this event in Mumbai with help of local NGOs and VJAS, the idea of the candle light vigil is to highlight the agrarian crisis and farmers’ suicides taking place all over India in general and in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in particular. Gandhiji’s first “Satyagraha” actions in India were in Champaran (Bihar) and Kheda (Gujarat). Britisher rulers were compelled to recognise agrarian crisis by the actions of Gandhi.

“Today we are in serious agrarian crisis. On and average daily four farmers are committing suicides in the “suicide zone” of Vidarbha. Much talked about Prime Minister’s package of Rs. 3,750/- crore could not prevent farmers’ suicides. Rather than packages, we need to have an agriculture policy which can take care of agriculture sector”, Desai added.

Nagpur-based Kishor Tiwari, president of VJAS, in a statement said the VJAS secretary Mohan Jadhav along with farm widows of village Kolzari, where the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh failed to visit of 1st July 2006, and other widows who are on starvation will join this event.

Few widows of the farmers who committed suicides and peasants too will participate in the candle light vigil to expose the anti-peasants policy. Do participate and spread word, Jatin Desai has appealed all prominent citizens of Mumbai to join this function to mark respect to dying farmers of Vidarbha.

It may be mentioned here that farmer suicides continue unabated in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region in central India – there were at least 95 cases in September – despite much talked about relief packages by the central and state governments.

Around 15 suicides were reported in a matter of three days – Sep 27 to 29. This has taken the toll to 1,729 since July 2006 announcement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s relief package, according to Tiwari.

Farmers continue to take their own lives due to crop failure after incurring high input costs and being unable to repay loans. ([email protected])