Shiv Sena supporters vandalise offices over non-payment of farmers' insurance claims in Pune

Updated: Nov 10, 2019, 23:43 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh |

Local Sena leader Suraj Lokhande warned companies that this act of the Sena was only the "title" and that the "full film" was yet to come

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray with son Aaidtya Thackeray when the latter filed his nomination papers for the Worli assembly. Picture/Bipin Kokate
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray with son Aaidtya Thackeray when the latter filed his nomination papers for the Worli assembly. Picture/Bipin Kokate

A day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray warned insurance companies and bank allegedly delaying in settling claims of farmers afflicted by post-monsoon showers,l a group of local Sena leaders and workers on November 6, 2019, vandalised a branch office of the IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company in Pune.

The gang of Shiv Sanik's forcefully entered the insurance company's branch office at Pune around 11 am and started agitating, shouting slogans demanding that rain-hit farmers, whose crops had been completely ravaged by unseasonal rains, immediately be given their due insurance money.

Without even waiting for all the employees to leave the office, the Sena workers unfurling the saffron flags completely destroyed office furniture, vandalised the office and damaged cabins by breaking window panes and mangling office chairs.

Shiv-Sena Pune unit chief Sanjay More who spoke to mid-day said, "In the past, we had given proposals to all these insurance companies including IFFCO Tokio and Bajaj Allianz urging them repeatedly to settle farmers' claims at the time of the drought but they paid no heed. Officials at IFFCO Tokio were behaving in an arrogant manner even now when we urged them to give the desperate farmer's insurance money. This is the impact of vandalising the firm's Pune branch was to give them a wake-up and this is just a beginning and alarm that will be a message to deaf hear's who do not follow our chief's appeal."

He further added, "This is our Sena style agitation for other insurance companies in Maharashtra's Pune and Mumbai to get their act together and actively help farmers."

There have been several cases of IFFCO Tokio failing to settle claims of farmers in the Marathwada region during the drought which stalked Maharashtra this summer. Former MLA Mahadev Babar said, "Sena activists would be closely monitoring crop insurance companies to ensure that claims were settled expeditiously. Such a blow on part of the Sena was much needed to prod these insurance companies into action. Our party workers will ensure at the taluka level that panchnamas are done and afflicted farmers are given their due compensation of insurance money."

Local Sena leader Suraj Lokhande warned companies that this act of the Sena was only the "title" and that the "full film" was yet to come. He further said, "We will kick off a statewide agitation and vandalise offices of other crop insurance companies if they failed to settle claims rapidly. While farmers were starving, crop insurance firms were allegedly behaving in a high-handed manner."

When contacted, Koregaon Police Station officials said that investigations were on and that a complaint would soon be filed against the vandals. On Tuesday, Thackeray had made a day-long tour of three districts in Marathwada to interact with farmers and survey the ravaged croplands in the region.

"Do not worry." the Sena chief had reassured farmers while remarking that he knew the addresses of the errant insurance companies. In June this year, the Sena chief had similarly warned that his party workers would not hesitate to 'straighten' insurance companies and banks denying financial aid to farmers while touring drought-hit regions in Marathwada.

In July, Thackeray along with his party leaders and workers had staged a symbolic protest in front of a crop insurance company office at Mumbai's Bandra-Kurla Complex. At a time when his party is indulging in 'brinkmanship bargaining' with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), thus delaying the government formation process, Thackeray is projecting himself as being above petty wrangling for power, ostensibly concerned only with the interests of the farmers.

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