Hyderabad: Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV), an independent farmers’ organisation based in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, held its state convention at Marri Krishna Hall in Hyderabad to celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday. Over 300 delegates of the organisation, including farmers, agriculture workers, women farmers from both the Telugu states participated in the convention.
RSV has been at the forefront among farmers’ organisations in documenting farmer suicides and assisting victim families in getting government support or ex-gratia amounts, said Kondal Reddy of RSV, while addressing the convention.
RSV was formed in February 2011 in the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh. “In the last 10 years, RSV has been working on the problems in the agriculture sector in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by addressing issues at both village and policy level. It has been working independently and in cooperation with other farmers’ organisations, dalit and adivasi organisations,” said Ravi Kanneganti, one of the founders of RSV. He said grassroots organisations, human rights and civil rights organisations helped RSV in reaching out to distressed farmers in remote areas.
Among the other speakers were Kavita Kuruganti, an agricultural activist who is among the leaders of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), N Venu Gopal, Editor of Veekshanam, Meera Sanghamitra of National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) and P Shankar, leader of Dalit Bahujan Front.
Addressing the convention, Kuruganti said the ongoing farmers’ movement in Delhi’s borders was a historic one and farmer leaders from over 500 organisations awere collectively leading the movement.
“Despite organisational challenges, farmer leaders have adopted a consensus-based decision-making process in leading the protests. The farmers will not go back from Delhi until their demands are addressed,” said Kuruganti, while appealing to farmer organisations in the Telugu states to intensify the movement by supporting SKM protests in large numbers.
Stating that the work done by RSV was significant, Sanghamitra said the organisation must transform into a mass movement for fighting anti-farmer policies of both the Central and state governments.
The Dalit Bahujan Front has been working jointly with RSV on problems of dalits in agriculture, said Shankar. “The fact that over 5,000 farmers committed suicides after the formation of Telangana state explains the distress among farmers in the state. There are lakhs of dalit families who are landless and are dependent on agricultural work. The Telangana government has failed to implement land reforms in the state by not keeping its promise of distributing agricultural land for landless dalits and adivasis,” said Shankar.
In the convention, RSV members pledged to work for financial security of rural and adivasi families dependent on agriculture, rights of indigenous people on natural resources and for supporting environmentally-sustainable agriculture.
“RSV has been working for the rights of tenant farmers, women farmers and has been encouraging collective agriculture among single women farmers,” said Kanneganti. He added that the organisation had conducted conventions in seven districts of Andhra Pradesh and 15 districts in Telangana in the past two months. “Many civil society organisations, groups working for the rights of Adivasis and retired teachers are joining the organisation,” he said.
RSV, along with other farmers organisations has been organising protests and conducting village level campaigning against the three farm laws in the Telugu states.