The farm bills passed amidst mayhem in the Rajya Sabha have triggered widespread protests across the country by farmers. Tamil Nadu farmers burnt the draft bill in several places and farmers’ organisations have announced massive road blockades across the state on September 25. The farmers will hit the roads in more than 500 centres across the national and state highways in opposition to the anti-farmers bills.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist [CPI(M)] took out a protest march to the government secretariat on September 21 against the bills and were detained by the police.
An all-party meeting held on Monday by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has resolved to hold protests on September 28 demanding the withdrawal of the bills. The parties have extended the support to the road blockade of the farmers’ organisations.
DMK leader M K Stalin tweeted, “The all-party meeting resolved to conduct protest demonstrations across the state opposing the farm bills, which will adversely affect the farmers and small traders.”
He further added, “The chief minister should apologise to the farmers for supporting the bills. The AIADMK has supported the bills to protect their government. These bills will have a detrimental effect on the farmers”.
‘AGAINST THE INTERESTS OF FARMERS’
The farmers’ organisations and political parties have been accusing the bills of being framed against the interest of the land-tillers and in favour of the corporates. The repeated demands of the members of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha for voting on the bills were rejected, violating the existing rules on carrying out the voting process.
P Shanmugam, the state general secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam who led the CPI(M) protest to the secretariat said, “These policies are framed without considering the long pending demands of the farmers. The bills would favour the big corporates. The bills don't mention either the minimum support price (MSP) or the procurement of produce by the government.”
The protesters alleged that the way in which these bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha is against the fundamental principles of democracy. The police detained the protestors as soon as they started their march towards the government secretariat.
The farmers across the state burnt the draft bills soon after the upper house passed the two bills through voice vote--the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
‘BJP, AIADMK BETRAYING FARMERS’
The protestors accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) of betraying the farmers. The promises made by the BJP on implementing the M S Swaminathan Commission report on ensuring the MSP has remained only on paper, they said.
“The farmers are not ready to believe the words of the Prime Minister. For the past six years, his government has not taken any steps to implement any of the huge promises made in the 2014 election campaign. The AIADMK government, too, has supported the BJP in getting these bills passed. The farmers have seen enough of these two governments and the protests will only strengthen henceforth”, Shanmugam added.
The leaders also alleged that the bills would undo the food security ensured to the people through the public distribution system (PDS). “If the government is not procuring the produces of the farmers, how will the people receive food grains from the PDS shops. There are issues which will affect the farmers and the people in these bills”, Shanmugam said.
‘ROAD BLOCKADE IN 500 CENTRES’
The All India Coordination Committee of the farmers' organisations has called for a nationwide protest on September 25 against the anti-farmers bills of the union government. The AIKS Tamil Nadu state committee has announced that road blockades will be held across the state in more than 500 centres demanding the withdrawal of the bills. Copies of the contentious bills will also be burned.
The statement of the AIKS said, “The passing of the bills would leave the farmers at the mercy of the multinational companies. Adding insult to injury, the chief minister has voiced his opinion in favour of the bills. The AIADMK has betrayed the farmers of the state by supporting the bills in both the houses.”