Over 500 agitating farmers held
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They were demanding payment of dues, cops say they did not have permission for rally
More than 500 farmers who had come to Pune to participate in a rally organised by Shetkari Sanghatana were arrested by the police on Thursday. Police said the agitation was illegal as no permission had been granted while the leader of the Sanghatana claimed that police action was deliberate.
Several farmers and Sanghatana members arrived in the city since morning. The farmers were planning to march to the house of Harshwardhan Patil, Minister for Co-operatives at Bhandarkar Road.
Raghunath Patil, president of the Patil faction of Shetkari Sanghatana, said, "The money that was to be paid to farmers within 14 days after the sugarcane crushing season ended has not been paid. There are arrears of over Rs 300 crore. Our application for permission for the rally was deliberately rejected. This shows how biased the government is and how the police are being used to subdue democratic protests."
M B Tambade, DCP (Special Branch) said, "As the rally was illegal, we started arresting agitators when they arrived in the city. We made arrests at Bhosari, Pune station area and Bhandarkar Road. The arrested agitators included Sanghatana leader Raghunath Patil. They were released by evening."
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