Farmer threatens to jump off Mantralaya, relents

High drama was witnessed at the Maharashtra government headquarters Mantralaya on Friday evening when a young farmer climbed onto the top floor’s parapet and threatened to jump off if his demands were not met, officials said.

The farmer – later identified as Dnyaneshwar Salve from Osmanabad – who resorted to the “Sholay” style agitation demanded that Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar or Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot should be called to meet him. Mumbai police, fire brigade and disaster management teams went into full preparedness in case he carried out his threats while some police officials attempted to negotiate with him and find out his grievances.

Eyewitnesses said that at one point, when security personnel approached him, Salve took a broken glass piece of a window pane and threatened to slit his threat before they retreated. He threw a chit of paper demanding that the Maharashtra government implement the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Report and demanding proper remunerative prices to farmers for their products.

Though the two ministers Salve wanted to meet were not available, three other ministers, including Education Minister Vinod Tawde, rushed to the Mantralaya top seventh floor, and assured that all his demands would be considered. After nearly an hour of cajoling and persistence by the police, the youth finally relented and climbed back to safety and was immediately detained.

Thousands of office-goers bound for home crowded outside the Mantralaya precincts near Nariman Point to watch the unfolding drama which lasted nearly an hour. While it was not immediately clear how Salve managed to hoodwink the tight security inside and outside the Mantralaya building to reach the parapet wall undetected, he was whisked away from the scene by police for interrogation.

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