For the first time ever a Maharashtra “shutdown” called by farmers organisations got underway here on Monday with minor incidents of violence on the fifth-day of the ongoing farmers strike. The shutdown got enthusiastic response from the farmers with many regulars markets, locals markets and weekly markets remaining shut, with the ruling ally, Shiv Sena, opposition Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Peasants and Workers Party, Left parties, various trade unions, NGOs, affiliated organisations and farmers groups supporting the shutdown. Major milk suppliers like Gokul Dairy, have joined the strike along with fresh fruits and vegetables cultivators, but the milk federation in Mumbai has kept off the shutdown on Monday. There were minor incidents like burning truck tyres on roads to prevent vehicles movements, stopping some farmers from proceeding to sell their produce in weekly markets even as police maintained strict vigil in most rural and semi-urban areas where the shutdown was witnessed.
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In Nashik, agitating farmers accused Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of “cheating” and burnt his effigy on Monday, there were road blocks and processions in Pune, Aurangabad, Dhule, Sangli, Ahmednagar, Parbhani, Solapur, Osmanabad and Kolhapur. Urban centres like Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and other semi-urban centres were out of purview of the shutdown, they would be impacted in terms of shortages of daily essentials and spiralling prices. The shutdown called by Kisan Kranti – an umbrella organisation of various farmers groups in the state – was part of intensifying the farmland “strike” from June 1. On Tuesday the plan was to lockdown all government offices followed by gherao of legislators and ministers offices on Wednesday.