Hyderabad: Farmers are protesting at over 300 protest sites across all districts and agriculture markets in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as part of the ongoing nationwide farmers’ movement demanding the repeal of the three newly enacted farm laws and the proposed electricity (amendment) bill, according to farmer organisations.
As protest demonstrations have intensified since the December 8 Bharat bandh, farmers’ groups are being supported by civil society organisations, trade unions and students’ organisations among other groups.
On Monday, farmers blocked roads near toll plazas on national highways between the two states as part of their ongoing agitation. A day before, farmers had held hundreds of candle-light rallies and human chain protests across 1,265 mandals in both states, paying respects to the 33 farmers who died during the ongoing movement.
Left parties such as the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], and their affiliate organisations have been joining and supporting the farmers’ protests across districts in both the states.
J Ranga Reddy, Telangana State CPI(M) member, said that the Narendra Modi government is responsible for the death of the farmers in the ongoing movement. “PM Modi is blatantly lying to the people on farm laws through the media but how long can he cheat them?” he questioned.
Kondal Reddy of Rythu Swarajya Vedika said, “As low-income families are realising the possibility of price hikes with the implementation of farm laws, they are now coming out in support of the farmers’ protests across districts.”
While the farm laws are fundamentally detrimental to the farming communities, Reddy argued that tenant farmers will be the most affected. “Tenant farmers, who do not even avail bank credits or other government schemes, are most dependent on the agriculture markets for Minimum Support Prices (MSP). But as these laws permit private markets, their only benefit of MSP comes under threat. Further, through contract farming, tenant farmers will lose their jobs in competition with big private players in the agriculture sector,” said Reddy.
Organisations that are part of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), including the Telangana Rythu Sangam, have been organising different forms of protests on a daily basis at the India Park in Hyderabad since December 8.
“Domestic workers in Hyderabad to marginal farmers in remote tribal villages of Adilabad are joining the movement against the new farm laws,” said T Sagar, President of Telangana Rythu Sangam.
As one of the main contentions of the farmers’ protest is that the laws favour corporate interests, on December 18, farmer leaders in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntur, Mangalagiri and Chirala held protest demonstrations in front of private retail marts owned by Reliance.
Further, farmers are also planning to protest near the Reliance Jio towers in their agriculture fields on Wednesday.
The farmers’ groups are also campaigning for a Chalo Hyderabad programme on December 30 as part of their series of protest demonstrations.
“With the spirit of the protesting farmers at the Delhi borders, farmers’ organisations in Telangana are jointly holding protests in coordination with farmer leaders in Delhi. Every day protests have been planned across mandals till December 30. The only end of the movement will be revocation of the farm laws,” said Sagar. He added that the organisation leaders are also campaigning against the “false propaganda” in the social media against the ongoing movement.
“Relay hunger strikes have been going on at all district headquarters in Andhra Pradesh,” said Y Kesav Rao, President of Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam. “As the state government has begun to fix smart metres to agriculture pump sets as directed by the central government, farmers’ leaders are campaigning against the government's action,” said Rao, referring to its connection with the electricity amendment bill.