Hyderabad: Thousands of peasants and agricultural workers joined hands to form human chains across 33 districts in Telangana marking the 100 days of the ongoing farmers’ movement. In Andhra Pradesh, farmers’ groups hoisted green flags representing the farmers’ unity in about 2,000 villages across the state in solidarity with the protests in Delhi’s borders and across the country against three farm laws.
Farmers unions say that as the peasants are beginning to realise the impact of the new farm laws, they are heading towards mass mobilisations in Telugu states demanding the scrapping of the laws, which they say open the gates for corporatisation of agriculture at the cost of farmers’ interests.
In Hyderabad’s Gun Park, located opposite to Telangana state Assembly, about a hundred leaders of farmers organisations, tenant farmers’ groups and agriculture workers’ organisations formed a human chain in protest against the farm laws and the new Electricity Amendment Bill on Saturday.
“The TRS-led state government has taken a U-turn on its stand on farm laws as the government is moving towards facilitating the implementation of the laws. Already, the number of new government procurement centres set up last year has been declining. This is becoming evident as farmers who cultivated crops such as red gram, green gram and groundnut among others are facing difficulties in selling their crop produce at government procurement centres,” said Tegala Sagar, General Secretary of Telangana Rythu Sangam. He said that the ongoing farmers’ movement is witnessing increased participation from peasants.
The response to various all-India protest calls given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha has been strong in all districts of Telangana as farmer organisations have been jointly holding the protests, said Sayanna of Telangana Raitanga Samithi. “There is a general consensus among the farming communities that the new farm laws will have a detrimental impact on farmers,” he said, adding that as a step forward in the ongoing movement, farmers organisations are planning to conduct gram sabhas across villages and are planning to conduct mahapanchayats in the state.
The farmers’ unions have announced to hold protest demonstrations on March 8 to mark International Women’s Day and a state-wide protest on March 15 by peasants and workers.
“Telangana has witnessed mass mobilisations in support of the ongoing farmers struggle in various centres including in Hyderabad, Khammam, Mahaboobnagar, Nizamabad and Nalgonda districts,” said Vemulapalli Venkataramaiah, President of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) and the working group member of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC). Further, 74-year-old Venkatramaiah, who has been at the forefront of leading the farmers’ organisations in the ongoing struggle said that the movement will only intensify with more mass mobilisation in the state.
“The enormous support from trade unions, civil societies, students, women and youth organisations has strengthened the farmers’ struggle even though the corporate media avoided to cover the burning issue,” said Sayanna.
V Srinivasa Rao, tenant farmers’ leader in Andhra Pradesh and an AIKSCC member, said that the farmers and agriculture workers’ organisations have hoisted green flags in about 2,000 village centres across Andhra Pradesh.
Farmer leaders admitted that the ongoing Member of Legislative Council (MLC) elections in Telangana and the ongoing municipal elections in Andhra have had little impact on the farmers’ protests in the Telugu states. However, Venkatramaiah said that the farmers’ organisations in the southern states are overcoming all sorts of hurdles as they have seen an increase in their support base among farming communities.
As the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government is keen on implementing the farm laws amid strong opposition from farmers, the last 100 days has been a battle between the ruling saffron party and the farmers. For farmers, this is a struggle to secure their livelihood and future.