The farmers are going to intensify their resistance against the implementation of agriculture reforms on the ground in days to come, an umbrella farmers body representing over 250 organisations across the country resolved on Tuesday, September 29, while presenting its protest action plan which includes, above all, a march to the national capital.
A “Delhi Chalo” call for November 26 and 27 has been given by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which is set to witness participation from farmers across the country who have been up in arms against the Centre for legislating three farm bills that are feared to open up the agriculture sector to the vagaries of free-market forces.
The decision is part of farmers’ bodies intensifying their agitation, against what they call “black anti-farmer laws”. Only few days ago, on September 25, slogans reverberated across the country and economic activities were brought to a complete halt in at least two states – Punjab and Haryana – as part of a bandh called by AIKSCC.
“What we saw on (September) 25th was only a trailer. The country, along with those who are bringing a company raj are going to witness a historic movement led by the farmers,” Yogendra Yadav, a national executive member of the AIKSCC, said while speaking at a press conference.
Held in Press Club of India in New Delhi on Tuesday, the conference was also attended by other office bearers of the farmers’ body.
Among others, the umbrella body also called for farmers countrywide to take a pledge on October 2 – the day marking the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – for social boycott of political leaders belonging to BJP, along with parties who have not yet opposed the farm legislations.
Farmers will also observe October 14 as “MSP Adhikar Diwas” in a bid to expose lies of the Centre with regards to the crop support prices.
These, along with the protests that are planned at state levels, will “culminate in a National Protest on 26th & 27th November in Delhi,” the body said in a press statement, adding “it will not rest,” till the Centre withdraws its “inhuman assault on farmers future and livelihood.”
Currently, a ‘rail roko’ agitation by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee in Punjab has entered the sixth day on Tuesday. Members of the committee are squatting on rail tracks in protest, who are set to be joined by other farmers’ organisations in the state from October 1 in blocking trains for an indefinite period.
In Haryana, after braving against police’s brutal baton charge and ensuring a total bandh, a call has been given for October 6 to gherao the residence of Haryana’s Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala at Sirsa. In the wake of farmers’ protest, Chautala, whose party Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) is in alliance with the ruling BJP in the state, has found himself in a tough position.
The farmers are demanding him to resign from his position, even more so after Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a Shiromani Akali Dal leader, submitted her resignation from the Union Cabinet after pressure from farmers’ group in her state, Punjab.
Both Punjab and Haryana - being also the richest agriculture dependent states in the country – are at the forefront of the farmers' stir.
Other states, prominently including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and western Uttar Pradesh, will also see spontaneous farmers’ protest, relay hunger strikes among others in the coming days, AIKSCC informed.
At the heart of the farmers’ protest is the demand to bring about a legislation that will guarantee crop MSPs and criminalise sales below it, Yadav told the press.
Hannan Mollah, working group member, AIKSCC, while addressing the press, expressed his anguish over how “the Centre is not listening to the protestors,” and going ahead with its reforms.
That being the case, “the need now is to resist, and no more just protest, what they (the central government) have decided,” Mollah, also general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), said.
The Centre led by Narendra Modi had locked horns with the farmers’ community, especially those with sizeable land holding, ever since it brought the agriculture reforms in the form of ordinances in June this year.
The recently concluded Parliament session saw the passage of the three bills – replacing those ordinances – amid much of Opposition's uproar. At least 18 of them have now written to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to not grant his assent to the bills.
Meanwhile, the AIKSCC has also asked the state governments of opposition parties to devise legal ways to ensure that the bills are not implemented in their respective states.