Farmers organisations, supported by labour unions, civil society groups and the common people marched to the Raj Bhavan in their respective state capitals this morning, in solidarity with the farmers who have been protesting for 59 days at Delhi’s borders against the Farm Laws.
Protest marches took place across the country, including at Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Chennai, Jammu
Thousands of protesters who had gathered in Guwahati in support of the farmers’ agitation against the Farm Laws were denied from marching to the Raj Bhavan by the police.
The ‘Rajbhavan March’ was called by various organisation in Guwahati, Assam. The march was scheduled for this morning, on the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Thousands gathered in Guwahati, the capital of Assam, but the police stopped the protesters from marching onward. After heated confrontations with the police, the protestors organised a sit-in demonstration where leaders and activists representing various organizations expressed their anger against the Modi Government and demanded the repeal of the controversial laws.
The organisations which participated in the protest include the Asom Rajyik Krishak Sabha, All India Kisan Sabha, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, AICCTU (All India Central Council of Trade Unions), SFI (Students federation of India), DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India) Asom Mahila Sangha etc.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also arrived in Assam today. He is scheduled to distribute land pattas to one lakh beneficiaries. The PM intends to travel to Sivasagar district, about 400 kms from Guwahati.
The police, however, cited the PM’s visit as the reason for denying permission to the march.
The protestors nevertheless, submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Assam through the ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police), Guwahati.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Marking ‘Azad Hind Kisan Diwas’, farmers organisations, supported by workers and other civil rights’ organisations held ‘Maha Padav’ in Sundarayya Park in Hyderabad and ‘Maha Dharna’ in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada on Saturday. While hundreds of farmers and common people participated in the two dharnas, the ongoing every day protests demanding the scrapping of the new farm laws across districts in both Telugu States has been garnering massive support from large sections of people.
“Five hundred farmers and workers attended the Maha Padav despite the change in the protest site from Indira Park to Sundarayya Park on short notice. Telangana is witnessing different forms of protest demonstrations against the Farm Laws which open the gates for the corporatisation of agriculture,” said Ravi Kanneganti of Rythu Swarjya Vedika, a farmers organisation. He added that the farmers’ organisations were planning a massive parade in Hyderabad on Republic Day.
Various organisations, including the agriculture workers’ union, tribals’ organisations and organised and un-organised workers’ organisations participated in the Maha Padav.
“Several Left party leaders were placed under house arrest on Friday evening to prevent them from attending the Maha Dharna. However, hundreds of people turned out in the public meeting making it a massive success. There have also been relay hunger strikes and tractor parades which are ongoing across all districts in Andhra Pradesh,” said Ch. Babu Rao of CPI(M).
In Telangana, the ‘Karmika Karshaka Poru Yatra’ — a campaign tour — against the “anti-worker”, “anti-farmer” policies of the Central Government, by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), has entered its fourth day.
“Ten teams of farmers and workers’ activists are travelling across the state covering remote villages and campaigning about the faults in the Labour Codes and new Farm Laws. The campaign, through the yatra, is garnering massive support as farmers are united against the laws,” said Paladugu Bhaskar of the CPI(M).
Since January 1, the Telangana Rythu Sangham has been traversing the state, meeting farmers’ and holding public meetings and explaining the agrarian crisis to farming communities and the government’s attempts to “corporatise” agriculture.
“Since November 26, the farmers' protests have intensified across both the Telugu states. Farmers’ concerns are being reflected in the overwhelming opposition to the farm laws,” said Kanneganti.
Farmers and workers from Tamil Nadu too vowed to fight until the BJP government at the Centre repealed the three Farm Laws. In a massive gherao of the Raj Bhavan in Chennai today, leaders of the AIKSCC and the central unions condemned the “insensitive attitude” of the Union and state governments in addressing the concerns of the farmers.
Thousands of farmers and workers were detained after the protest. The AIKSCC has said it will take out tractor rallies in all districts on January 26 demanding the repeal of the “anti-farmer” laws. A. Soundararajan, state president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said: “The farmers at the borders of Delhi and across the country are persisting with a historic protest. Instead of repealing the three Farm Laws, the BJP government is resorting to mudslinging, even calling them separatists and terrorists”.
“A government which is focussed on protecting cows is unable to protect the jobs of workers. The unity of farmers and workers should ensure the defeat of this government,” he added.
The state government led by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) continues to suppress the farmers’ protest by using police force. The police have been reportedly threatening tractor owners with dire consequences if they participate in the Republic Day tractor rally.
Addressing the protest, P. Shanmugam, general secretary of the state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), said, “The AIKSCC has decided to continue with the protests until the laws are withdrawn. The AIADMK government here is suppressing the farmers’ protest like no other. We have decided to hold the tractor rally in a peaceful manner. Only the state government and the police have to decide on the nature of protest now,” he said.
The protest was attended by AIKSCC member associations, central trade unions including CITU, AITUC, AICCTU and Labour Progressive Front (LPF). The members of the Union of IT and ITES Employees Union (UNITE) also took part in the protest. Solidarity protest were held in many parts of the state by trade unions.
The Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi also held a march to the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvanthapuram in protest against the three Farm Laws. Following the march, farmers, under the banner of the Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi launched a day and night satyagraha till January 25.
“After three days of Satyagraha – on January 26, Republic day – the country would have witnessed the largest protest ever since its independence,” said M. Vijayakumar, the state president of Kerala Kashaka Sangham, the Kerala chapter of the AIKS.
Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi, part of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), consists of various farmers organisations part of the Left Front.
“For the past 60 days farmers from across the country are protesting against the Farm Laws. Yesterday, during the meeting with farmers’ representatives, the Central Government put forward two proposals. One is that the Farm Laws would not be implemented for the next 18 months and then the government would appoint a committee to study the laws. The protesting framers, however, unanimously decided to carry forward their fight until the laws were revoked unconditionally,” said S. Ramachandran Pillai, vice president of the AIKS, while inaugurating the satyagraha.
The Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi had launched a relay protest at the Martyrs’ Column in Thiruvananthapuram from December 12 in solidarity with protesting farmers across the country. On December 23, such protests were launched at all district centres across the state and these have been ongoing since then.
The farmers’ struggle has been receiving massive support and solidarity from all sections of the society across the state with various organisations coming forward as well. On Saturday, while the farmers launched a satyagraha at Raj Bhavan, students across from the state have marched to various central government offices across the state.
SFI Ernakulam District Committee held a march against in solidarity with protesting farmers
Student Federation of India (SFI), All India Students Federation (AISF) and other students’ organisations held various marches across the state in solidarity with the farmers.
Despite the heavy rainfall, hundreds of farmers and social activists gathered outside the Lieutenant Governor’s office in Jammu’s Panjtirthi in support of the farmers at Delhi’s borders. The protest saw the participation of senior CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who addressed the protesters. He said that an “unprecedented unity has been shown by the farmers in face of an indifferent government.”
Addressing the protesters, Tarigami said: “The farmer’s struggle is set to complete two months on Republic Day and yet the BJP-led Central Government remains adamant, and vindictive. Eleven rounds of talks with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has led to no result so far whereas scores of notices were sent to several participants in the farmers struggle from the NIA last week, trying to link them to Khalistani groups. But this has enraged the farmers more and they are determined to fight back.”
Slogans like Modi Sarkar Murdabad rented the air with protesters carrying the red flags. They told NewsClick that they had assembled in solidarity with the struggling farmers and also against “PM Modi’s pro-corporate stand”.
The protest was also joined by Kishore Kumar, president of the J&K Kisan Tehreek and CPI(M) regional secretary S.P Kesar. Addressing the disgruntled protestors, Kumar said that their demands included the revocation of Farm Laws, scrapping of the four Labour Codes, withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill and for a law mandating MSP. Kumar said such laws were against the paddy, vegetable and fruit growers of Jammu and Kashmir.
Criticising the Central Government, Kesar hailed the farmers struggle, saying that the “Central Government is attempting to use the Supreme Court to try and ban the kisaan parade.”
“They can try as much as they want to but our farmers won’t be deterred. They will rather intensify their struggle in the coming weeks against the pro-corporate, anti-democratic and fascist government.”
With inputs by Sandipan Talukdar, Prudhviraj Rupawat, Neelambaran A, Shilpa Shaji, Sagrika Kissu