Thousands of farmers along with women, students, youth and environmental activists across the country demonstrated against the visit of Brazilian president Bolsonaro on Saturday, January 25, a day ahead of the Republic Day celebrations for which he has been invited as the chief guest. The Brazilian president landed in New Delhi on Friday for a four-day visit, aiming to improve the strategic ties between the two countries.
Bolsonaro’s stand on the disputes over the Indian sugar subsidies, which had been placed before the World Trade organisation (WTO), along with his repressive measures over the workers, peasantry, students, youth, students, women and the indigenous has forced the peasants to come out to streets. The All India Sugarcane Farmers’ Federation (AISFF), which is affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), has been leading a campaign for the past one week against Bolsonaro’s policies.
On Friday, many groups including AISFF, AIKS and Swabhimani Shetakari Sanghatana along with others gathered in many centres across the country and burned the effigy of Bolsonaro marking their protest. In the national capital, a group of activists from AIKS and AISFF demonstrated at Jantar Mantar which was also joined by the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).
Also read: Indian Sugarcane Farmers’ Protest Intensifies Ahead of Bolsonaro’s Visit
“We generally don’t oppose the chief guests for our Republic Day. But, Modi has invited the person who had made a complaint, in WTO, against the country and interest of our farmers,” said NK Shukla, general secretary of AISFF.
“We are demanding that the price of sugarcane be fixed on the basis of MS Swaminathan commission recommendation – cost of production plus 50%. According to it, the minimum price should be Rs 5,000 per quintal. But, the government is not giving this amount and they have fixed it at Rs 2,750 per quintal. Along with this, almost Rs 24,000 is lying with the sugar mills as arrears, and the government is doing nothing for the farmers,” he added.
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“We think it’s an insult to the nation, because Bolsonaro has been making anti-people policies in his own country, he has been insulting women – in fact justifying rape, as well as the LGBTQ community and he has been harming the indigenous people,” said Mariam Dhawle of AIDWA, explaining why the people have come together against Bolsonaro and his presence in the Republic Day celebrations.
Detailing how the policies of Bolsonaro has been benefiting the corporates, Mayukh Biswas, General Secretary, SFI, said, “We should think about what Bolsonaro had done when the Amazon rainforest, which is known as the lungs of earth, was on fire. Amazon’s jal, jamin, jangal (water, land and forest) have been thrown open for corporates and this is what Modi is doing in India for corporates.”