SKM Plans Rallies on 2nd Anniversary of Farmers' Protest; Focus on MSP, Lakhimpur Kheri Violence
New Delhi: In the heart of the national capital, the umbrella platform of about 500 farmers' organisations - Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) - met on Sunday to chart out its plan of action for the upcoming months.
The national general body meeting, which was organised at the Rakabganj Gurudwara in New Delhi, was presided over by Ruldu Singh, Tajinder Singh Virk, Hannan Mollah, Darshan Pal, and Rakesh Tikait.
After a split in the SKM caused by some factions a month ago (leading to the formation of SKM-nonpolitical), the GBM decided to expand and form a new coordination committee to fulfil the democratic aspirations within the coalition of farmer groups. It may be noted that the earlier coordination committee, which saw through the farmers' movement from November 26, 2020, to December 9, 2021, was a seven-member body, which included popular leaders like Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Darshan Pal, Hannan Mollah, Rakesh Tikait, and others.
According to a press release, the meeting also condemned the "lie campaign by a few organisations calling themselves SKM non-political." It stated that the "splinter groups" have left SKM and are no longer part of it.
To select names for the new coordination committee, Sunday's GBM formed an 11-member draft committee. The suggestions of the draft committee will be submitted to the next GBM, where the national body will finalise the new coordination committee.
The GBM also agreed to a revised charter of demands for future movements. The new charter demands a minimum support price (MSP) for all crops with a legal guarantee of the same. It has also demanded the withdrawal of the electricity bill, proper formulation of crop insurance, and a pension for farmers.
The Lakhimpur Kheri violence incident remains a primary point of contention between the SKM and the central government. Last month, a three-day dharna was held at Kheri, where thousands of farmers had joined to demand action against the alleged culprits.
In Sunday's meeting, the attending farmers once again resolved to push for the arrest of Ajay Mishra Teni, Union minister of state and father of the main accused. The new charter of demands has also reasserted its demands for immediate withdrawal of all cases against farmers and compensation for families of those who lost their lives during the year-long farmers' struggle against the three farm reform laws.
The GBM has also decided upon its future course of action. From September 15 to 25, the organisation has envisioned a block-tehsil level campaign across the country. SKM has decided to hold district-level meetings and meet MPs to submit the charter of demands and demand voicing the same in Parliament. October 3 is set to be observed as 'Black Day' in remembrance of the first anniversary of the Lakhimpur Kheri tragedy.
Finally, on November 26, the second anniversary of the farmers' movement, there will be large-scale rallies by SKM constituents in each state, and delegations will submit memorandums to governors.
It was reported that Yogendra Yadav, leader of Swaraj Abhiyan and Jai Kisan Andolan, appealed to be relieved from the coordination committee as he decided to take up responsibility elsewhere. SKM has accepted this request, and Yadav is no longer part of the coordination committee.
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