The Government of Maharashtra has begun a crackdown on farmers planting illegal herbicide tolerant Bt cotton across the state as part of a Kisan Satyagraha, which began early this month.
Maharashtra agriculture department has registered cases against 12 farmers participating in the Kisan Satyagraha at Hivarkhed Police Station in Akola district.
All these 12 people are farmers and activists of Shetkari Sanghatana which has called for a Kisan Satyagraha in the state and has been encouraging farmers to plant the banned variety of HT Bt cotton.
The cases have been filed under IPC sections that deal with cheating and dishonesty, being a member of an unlawful assembly, obstructing a public servant from discharging public function and disobedience to order promulgated by a public servant.
Besides, sections of the Environment Protection Act regarding discharging excess environmental pollutants, handling hazardous substances and failure to comply with provisions of the Act, and sections under the Seeds Act dealing with regulation or sale of seeds of a notified variety have also been slapped against them. The cases have been filed under sections 420, 143, 186, 188 of the IPC, Clause 7, 8, 11, 14 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Clause 7, ANCD of the Seed Act, 1966.
Lalit Patil Bahale, one of the farmers against whom the police have registered a case, said that the farmers will defend themselves on all counts of the Indian Penal Code under which they have been booked, because they have not misled anyone and had given the seeds to the officials on their own will.