Farmers Emerge Victorious Against Modi Government
It is the day when farmers clinched their victory after one year of relentless struggle at the borders of the national capital. Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM)- a collective of farmers' organisations- which spearheaded the farmers' struggle at the borders of Delhi on Thursday announced that it would be lifting its protest after the centre agreed to its pending demands of withdrawing the criminal cases on farmers, formation of a committee to fix Minimum Support Price (MSP) with clear terms of reference and compensation to the farmers died during the struggle. In a letter signed by Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the centre said that it would be forming the committee to fix MSP, including the members of SKM, representatives of State Government and Central Government and farming experts. It added that it would continue the existing procurement system from Haryana and Punjab.
The ministry assured that it would write to the state governments of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to withdraw the cases registered during the farm agitation. The Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments have already consented to compensate the kin of farmers who died during the struggle. To the objections to the Electricity Amendment Act 2021, the centre said it would talk to stakeholders and farmers' organisations before tabling it into the parliament. The centre added that it has also exempted farmers from penalties for burning stubble under Sections 14 and 15 of the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2020.
In a press statement, the morcha said, "Government of India, through the Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, sends a formal letter to Samyukt Kisan Morcha agreeing to several pending demands of the protesting farmers - Samyukt Kisan Morcha formally announces the lifting of the morchas at Delhi Borders on national highways and various other locations in response - Current agitation stands suspended - Battle has been won and the war to ensure farmers' rights, especially to secure MSP as a legal entitlement for all farmers, will continue."
The farmers' leaders said they have suspended celebrations on December 10 to pay tribute to Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday. The farmers at Singhu Border will take their victory March on December 11. To keep track of the promises made by the centre and subsequent development, the morcha will meet in Delhi on January 15 next year.
Talking to NewsClick, Hannan Mollah, All India Kisan Sabha, one of the constituents of the morcha, said the unprecedented victory will go down deep in the history of the country.
"This is an unimaginable victory for us. First, they repealed three farming laws and now accepted our pending demands. We will take this victory to the people living in villages and remote areas. It showed exemplary courage and unity of people where 500 organisations stood to the barbarism of this government without any difference. The government knows that it cannot pass unjust laws, and if it does not listen, we can bring it to its knees. This will deepen the democratic fervour. They tried to divide us between the identities of Hindus and Muslims and emerged as one identity that we are farmers alone."
For Sikkim Nain, the moment is akin to the second independence movement when they clinched victory from an arrogant ruler. Talking to NewsClick, she emphasised that the movement came as a second birth to women who came out of their households and asserted that they too would sacrifice in this struggle.
"Today, we will be celebrating this victory. It came after the sacrifice of 700 farmers who died on borders just for the sake of their rights. The movement gave us space. We know about rights, manage toll plazas and stage protests. If the government does not act on its promises, we will return. But for now, it is our victory!"
As per the data compiled by SKM, 708 farmers died naturally and by suicide at the borders of the capital.
Ashish Mittal, whose organisation All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha played an essential role in galvanising struggle in Central and Eastern Uttar Pradesh, told NewsClick, "This movement has, by uniting and rallying farmers and their organisations all over India, created better conditions for a nationwide struggle on several problems of Indian peasants. It has reinforced the ground for struggles instead of electoral alternatives as the only remedy. It has created a democratic space for democratic forces and people to raise their voices. It has evocatively countered mischievous propaganda of RSS, Govt and Godi media against farmers, portraying them as anti-national."
"This victory has not only created conscious appreciation amongst the peasants all over India for the issue of MSP, but it has also generated wide sympathy and support amongst citizens of India for this demand. If the committee does not deliver, it is our task now to build a nationwide struggle on the issue, which should be as determined as the one we have just won!"
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.