Scores of widows of farmers on Thursday staged a noisy protest in Yavatmal to slam Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut for her anti-farmers remarks, burnt her effigy and demanded an unconditional apology from her.
The protesters — carrying banners and placards to proclaim 'Yes, we are farmers but not terrorists', referring to Kangana's recent statement to malign the farmers protesting on Delhi borders and compare them to terrorists — also burnt the Bollywood actor's pictures.
They also hit her effigy with shoes to register their anger before setting it afire.
The protesters announced their resolve to boycott all films of Kangana till she did not withdraw her remarks and tender an unconditional apology to the Indian farmers for her "insulting statements".
Leading the protests was social activist Smita Tiwari along with farmers' widows like Bharati Pawar, Poornima Kopulwar, Kavita Sidam, Lakshmi Gandhwar, Rama Thamke, Vandana Mohurle, Rekha Gurnale, Aparna Malikar, and Yogita Choudhary.
Farm activists like Anil Tiwari, Ankit Naitam, Sunil Raut, Suresh Talmale, Neel Jaiswal, Manoj Chavan, Sandeep Jajulwar, Chandan Jainkar, Pradeep Kosare, Bablu Dhurve, and Ashutosh Ambade also participated and raised slogans against Kangana.
"We have seen the repression let loose on farmers on Delhi borders by police and paramilitary forces. We witnessed peasants getting beaten up mercilessly and dying. The farmers will return home only after the three new central agricultural laws are withdrawn by the BJP-led Union government," Pawar said in her speech.
A young widow, Seedam recalled how her debt-ridden husband committed suicide and her family suffered as a consequence. "However, rather than sympathise with the cause of farmers' widows and orphans, unpatriotic people like Kangana are making fun of their sacrifices," she said.
Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM) President Kishore Tiwari, who spoke at the protest meet, labelled Kangana as the "BJP's unofficial spokesperson" and criticised her for tweets comparing poor farmers with terrorists as an "outcome of a perverted mindset".
Tiwari, accorded a Minister of State status in the state, said that the whole country was now waiting for February 7 'chakka jaam' programme and appealed to the people to avoid travel by road on that day in support of farmers agitating on Delhi borders.
Anil Tiwari said that the biggest problem confronting the agro sector was the unending suicides by farmers. Instead of speaking up for the suffering peasantry, Kangana has chosen to ridicule the 'annadaatas' by branding them as terrorists, he alleged.
Last month, the VNSSM and other farm organisations had sent batches of farm widows to Delhi to join the protesting farmers and express solidarity on behalf of Maharashtra's peasantry.