Yavatmal (Maharashtra), Oct 6 (IANS) Veteran Bollywood actor Nana Patekar, currently under a cloud over allegations from actress Tanushree Dutta, found support from unexpected quarters: hundreds of farm widows of Maharashtra.
The Vidarbha Farm Widows Association on Saturday demonstrated at Pandharkavada village, demanding an end to “the victimization of our brother Nana Patekar.”
They were led by KBC-fame Aparna Malikar and other prominent activists Bharati Pawar, Anju Bhusari, Geeta Rathore, Vandara Gavande, Archana Raut, Kavita Sidam, Ranjana Khadse, Kamal Surpam, Uma Jiddewar, Sheela Mandavgade, Chandrakala Meshram, Poornima Pokulwar, Babita Agarkar, Jyoti Jiddewar, Rama Thamke, Vandana Shende, Ranjana Gurnule and others.
The women raised slogans in favour of Patekar and said Dutta is “unnecessarily defaming Patekar – a father-figure — who has helped the cause of the crisis-hit widows for several years” to help them secure justice.
Carrying banners and placards, the women speakers demanded: “Where were these women who are making baseless allegations against our elder brother Patekar, when the farmers were committing suicide and we were left in the lurch? It was only Patekar who came to help us financially and morally during the crises.”
Later, shouting slogans and condemning the allegations, they burnt photos and an effigy of Dutta.
Since 2015, Patekar and co-actor Makarand Anaspure have helped around 225 families of farmers who committed suicide by an aid package of Rs 15,000 each.
Then the same year, they set up the Naam Foundation and increased the scope of their from financial assistance to long-term gainful projects for the affected farm-widows.
With donations of over Rs 7 crore, the foundation is taking up a variety of activities in the entire Vidarbha region including afforestation, training centres for farmers and other community programmes.