Packets of biscuits, snacks and water were pressed into tired hands. Many had come with boxes of footwear, moved by images of calloused, blistered and even bleeding feet.
In Vikhroli, a schoolboy was among those who distributed food packets to the protesters. Resident associations lined up along the Eastern Express Highway, like in a marathon, handing out water and poha (snack).
As the large contingent of farmers in red caps passed through their neigbourhood in Mulund, some residents showered flowers.
Around 50,000 farmers have walked all the way from Nashik, skipped meals and slept in the open to reach Mumbai for their “Kisan long march”.
When they reached Mumbai, they stopped at Sion in the suburbs. The plan was to march to Azad Maidan today, but after the state government’s appeal, the farmers decided to march all night so they would reach the grounds without inconveniencing students taking exams today.
The gesture won social media and received a shout-out from scores, including celebrities and industrialists.
Mondays are a time to share quotes about Motivaton to get to work.Over 35K farmers have walked for days to get to Mumbai.We Mumbaikars are fed by them..Seeing the elderly amongst them with calloused feet,I cannot preach about motivation.Their determination is enough of an example pic.twitter.com/DsEHwRawAw
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) March 12, 2018
As long as the farmers and soldiers are willing to die for us, RESPECT
The moment they protest against any injustice, POLITICAL AGENDA
— Shirish Kunder (@ShirishKunder) March 12, 2018
— Harjinder Singh Kukreja (@SinghLions) March 11, 2018
The ones who feed us are now marching along with thousands of others for their basic needs and rights. Imagine the pain that made them walk 200kms.. When will we wake up? It’s time we support them! #FarmersMarchToMumbai
— Vivek Dahiya (@vivekdahiya08) March 12, 2018
More and more residents of Mumbai have come out in the support of the “sea of red”.
Organisations went with hundreds of boxes to Azad Maidan and distributed water, dates and biscuits.
Students and research scholars of IIT Bombay also joined in the march for some time, raising slogans and showing their solidarity with the protesting farmers.
The farmers are demanding a broader debt waiver program after some of them failed to qualify for any financial relief under government schemes last year. They also want better prices for their crops, halting the acquisition of land for projects like the bullet train and compensation for losses due to pest attacks and hailstorms.