As farmers from various states are protesting against the three recent farm laws at the borders of Delhi, Kerala farmers have decided to join with them as well. Over 1,000 farmers from Kerala would leave for Delhi to join the agitating farmers who have been on the streets since November 26 amid biting cold to save their livelihood. As part of it, the first batch of farmers will leave for Delhi by road on January 11 from Kannur.
“Farmers from various parts of the state would assemble at Kannur and on January 11, they would leave for Delhi by road crossing the Konkan route. The second batch of farmers will leave on January 21,” said KN Balagopal, secretary of Kerala Karshaka Sangham, during a press conference on Tuesday. Kerala Karshaka Sangham is the state chapter of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), one of the organisations at the forefront of the farmers’ protest,
The farmers will go by bus and it is expected to take three days to reach Delhi. The farmers from Kerala would reach the Shahjahanpur border, one of the borders where farmers have been camping and protesting.
“In the initial phase, there was an attempt to brand the protest as that of Punjabi farmers' since farmers from Punjab have been camping mainly at the Singhu border. When Haryana chief minister ML Khattar had declared that no one from Haryana is the part of protests, the farmers from Haryana marched to Delhi and they have been camping at Tikri border. Farmers from Uttar Pradesh are camping at Ghazipur border. Another group of farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are camping at Palwal border,” said KK Ragesh, a Rajya Sabha Member and state president of Kerala Karshaka Sangham. He added, “Later when the local body elections in Rajasthan got over, the farmers marched to Delhi through National Highway-8 that connects Jaipur and Delhi. These farmers have been blocked at Shahjahanpur. Farmers from Nasik have also joined there and the Kerala farmers would also join with the protest at Shahjahanpur.”
The struggle is not of a particular state, said Ragesh, underlining that farmers are protesting against the “pro-corporate” laws in almost all states as well as marching to Delhi.
In Kerala, the farmers have been on an indefinite protest since December 12. Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi, which is part of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), has continuously been observing relay protest at the Martyrs’ Column in Thiruvananthapuram in solidarity with protesting farmers across the country. Later, on December 23, such protests were launched at all district centres across the state, taking place every day from 10 AM to 7 PM. Though the protests have been happening under the leadership of farmers, all sections of the society cutting across political differences have expressed their solidarity.
Earlier, Kerala pineapple farmers, under the banner of Kerala Pineapple Farmers Association, had sent a truckload of the fruit for free distribution among protestors. Around 16 tonnes were sent from Vazhakkulam, which is known as Asia’s largest pineapple market and houses a pineapple research centre. The noble gesture of Kerala pineapple farmers have won the hearts of many, but those farmers considered it as their duty to do so.