Vidarbha widows on ‘Jagran yatra’ for separate statehood

Nearly 300 farmers’ widows will set upon a two-day Jagran Yatra (awakening procession) in eastern Maharashtra to press for their demand of separate statehood for Vidarbha.

Vidarbha Farm Widows Assocation (VFWA) president Bebitai Bais Monday said that the 180-km march will start Jan 20 from Maoist-hit Kosara village in Yavatmal district and end the next day at Both-Bodan village in the same district, which has the highest number of farm widows.

The region is the epicentre of suicides by indebted farmers.

The agitation will be part of the Jan 20 shutdown call in the entire Vidarbha region called by 68 political parties and social groups.

“During the procession, our convoy will halt in different villages and drum up support for the cause of Vidarbha, draw people’s attention towards the apathy of the Maharashtra government and the plight of the 7,300-plus farmland widows and other urgent socio-economic issues plaguing the region,” Bais said in a statement.

The widows will also present gifts of bangles to the opponents of a separate Vidarbha state, particularly the Shiv Sena.

“Our focus will be on the long-pending demands of the dying Vidarbha, which has been exploited for over six decades by different political parties,” Bais said.

She pointed out that the state government has failed to keep its promises even on basic issues like food, education, healthcare and security of the over two million farmers reeling under severe debts in the region.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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