Kozhikode: As farmers’ protests against the three contentious farm laws are intensifying across the country, growers from Kerala are headed to Delhi to take part in the protest. More than 500 farmers, under the banner of Kerala Karshaka Sangham, Kerala chapter of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), one of the farmers' organisations in the forefront of protests, began their march to Delhi on Monday morning from Kannur.
Though over 1,000 farmers from Kerala are slated to leave for Delhi to join their agitating counterparts who have been on the borders since November 26, only the first batch has left. The second batch will leave on January 21.
Farmers from all districts assembled at Kannur on Sunday and left for Delhi on Monday morning by bus, with S Ramachandran Paillai, vice president of AIKS, flagging off the march.
Farmers from other districts have assembled at Kannur on Sunday
“The farmers would reach Delhi by road crossing the Konkan route. The second batch will leave on January 21,” KN Balagopal, secretary of Kerala Karshaka Sangham, has said earlier in a press conference.
The bus journey is expected to take three days to reach Delhi. The farmers from Kerala will join other protesting counterparts at the Shahjahanpur border, one of the five borders where farmers have been camping and protesting since over a month now.
“In the initial phase, there was an attempt to brand the protest as that of Punjabi farmers' since farmers from Punjab have been camping mainly at the Singhu border. When Haryana chief minister ML Khattar had declared that no one from Haryana is the part of protests, the farmers from Haryana marched to Delhi and have been camping at Tikri border. Farmers from Uttar Pradesh are camping at Ghazipur border. Another group of farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are camping at Palwal border,” said KK Ragesh, a Rajya Sabha Member and state president of Kerala Karshaka Sangham.
Highlighting the growing solidarity among the peasant community, Ragesh said: “When the local body elections in Rajasthan got over, the farmers marched to Delhi through National Highway-8 that connects Jaipur and Delhi. These farmers have been stopped at Shahjahanpur. Farmers from Nasik have also reached there and Kerala farmers would also join the protest at Shahjahanpur.”
He underlined that farmers were protesting against the “pro-corporate” laws in almost all states as well as were marching to Delhi.
S Ramachandran Pillai Flags off the march
Simultaneously, protests at all district centres across the state have been intensified, with Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi, which is part of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), observing 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.
The protest venues are seeing solidarity participation from other organisations, such as trade unions, women, lawyers, teachers, student and youth organisations.
The Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi also consists of various farmers’ organisations including Kerala Karshaka Sangham (Kerala chapter of All India Kisan Sabha), Karshaka Congress along with other organisations. Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU), a body of agricultural workers, is also the part of the ongoing protests across the country.