Several organisations staged protests at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Friday, with people coming out in numbers in support of the farmers’ agitation in the capital. Workers, women, students, youth, intellectuals and others, including the citizens of Delhi, protested in solidarity with the farmers, demanding that the government should pay heed to their demands and repeal the three Farm Laws.
The BJP-led Central Government passed three Bills in September this year, at a time when COVID-19 was at its peak in the country. They included the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.
The laws have been opposed by the farmers from all over the country, who have called them “pro-corporate” and “anti-farmer”. Vikram Singh, national joint-secretary of the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU), who was part of the protest, told NewsClick that the demonstration was in support of the farmers. “This is to show that Delhi is with the farmers. If the government does not relent, then, in the coming days, there will be protests in every part of Delhi under the banner of ‘Farmer for India’,” he said.
He clarified that the movement will end only when the government withdraws the three laws. He said that the government was testing the patience of farmers, having negotiated with them for hours, but if the government did not agree to their demands by December 5, matters could come to a head.
He said that the struggle has become polarised with the government and the bourgeoisie one side with the peasants and workers on the other.
Poonam Kaushik, the leader of the Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, said that the government's attitude towards the farmers was condemnable and that the struggle was now not only of the farmers, but everyone.
Speaking to NewsClick, Mayukh Biswas, general secretary of the student organisation Students’ Federation of India, said that the government has been selling the country to capitalists, from the railways to airports. “This government and its policies are not just anti-farmer but against students and the youth – they stopped our scholarship long ago, while on the other hand, capitalists are being handed packages. Our demand is clear, that the government calls a special session of Parliament to withdraw these black laws or else the students will demonstrate in the entire country alongside the farmers,” he said.
Maimoona Mollah, secretary of the women’s organisation All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) said, “We are demonstrating with farmers on the border as well in Delhi, where the government did not allow them to come.”
She said that the purpose of these Acts was to hand over agriculture and land to “needlessly hungry corporates and leave the struggling farmers in a crisis; this crisis is worsening a time when our economy is continuously deteriorating.”
Lakhs of farmers are protesting across the country in support of the farmers in Delhi and against the violent repression by the police forces of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Farmers have braved tear gas, water cannons and Delhi’s winter. The protests at Jantar Mantar are also in solidarity with them.
So far, four rounds of government talks have been held with the farmers, but no solution has been found yet. Currently, another round of talks will take place on Saturday, December 5. Before the discussions, 40 farmers’ organizations are meeting today on December 4, where they will chalk out a further strategy.