Jal Satyagraha as Part of Farmers' MSP Week Protests
With memoranda to district officials, demonstrations, seminars and even a resolve to stand neck-deep in water, farmers started the Minimum Support Price (MSP) Week on April 11, 2022 to remind the Centre of its promises.
After the central government failed to come through on its promises to farmers' umbrella body Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), leaders resolved to resume nationwide protests. As such leaders announced the MSP week from April 11 to April 17 at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Delhi. The announcement came after strong campaigning in Uttar Pradesh and a nationwide ‘Betrayal Day’.
On Monday, SKM demanded a legal guarantee to MSP with protests, meetings, and a Jal Satyagraha. In Rewa, Madhya Pradesh along Bichiya river, protesters launched a week-long programme wherein farmers stood neck-deep in river water to demand their dues. Participants said they will visit different villages in the state and conclude with a Kisan Mahapanchayat on April 17 at Teonthar. One such farmer voiced his grievances to local reporters.
Meanwhile, other districts in the state including Indore submitted memoranda as well.
In Punjab, farmers submitted a letter to Mohali, Ferozepur, Fazilka and Gurdaspur District Magistrates, Sub-District Magistrates, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for MSP. Similarly, a dharna was held at the grain market in Thol, Kurukshetra of Haryana.
Along with protests, a seminar was organised in Pune, Maharashtra for the demand of MSP. More seminars will be held on April 12 in Mysore, Karnataka along with a two-day seminar in Patna, Bihar. More protests, demonstrations, seminars were held in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and are planned in the following days.
“The SKM reiterates its demand for the legal guarantee of MSP based on the Swaminathan Commission report. It calls upon farmers of the nation to come together in this fight, and start preparation for a nationwide agitation for the same,” said Hannan Mollah.
MSP, based on the Swaminathan Commission report that calls for one and a half times the comprehensive cost (C2), has been among the prime demands of the struggle. Even before November 26, 2020, many farmer unions had demanded the guarantee.
“The legal guarantee of MSP was also one of the six key issues during the 11 rounds of talks between the SKM and the Centre. It was also one of the key assurances made to the SKM in the Centre’s letter on December 9, 2021,” said SKM leader Darshan Pal.
Despite vacating Delhi borders based on these promises, the central government is yet to form an MSP committee, four months after the meeting with farmers.
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