Cotton growers in Vidarbha on Friday staged candle-light protests on the eve of US President Barack Obama's visit to the country, seeking to draw his attention to the plight of the agriculture sector in the region caused by American policies.
Protests were held under the banner of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), with the main protest being organised at Hiwara village in Zari taluka of Yavatmal district where a rally was taken out demanding a ban on American seed 'Bt Cotton' and withdrawal of ongoing subsidies given to American cotton growers.
Farm widows and distressed farmers from surrounding villages participated in the march and raised the slogan 'Barack Obama Go Back', the VJAS said in a release here.
"The US President is our guest and we respect him. There is no intention to hurt his feeling as we want that the main reason behind mass genocide of cotton farmers in Vidarbha should be there in the agriculture agenda as we understand it is not in the listed subjects," VJAS president Kishor Tiwari said during the rally at Hiwara, it said.
Vidarbha Farm Widows Association (VFWA) Babytai Bais lighted a candle in a prayer meeting in Hiwara, in which hundreds of farm widows and debt trapped farmers from the affected villages in Vidarbha attended, the release said.
Tiwari has alleged that American Cotton and Bt Cotton have ruined rural economy of cotton growing Vidarbha region as more than 10,000 cotton growers in Vidarbha, who opted for Bt cotton seed, committed suicide.