Lucknow: Farmers from four districts in western Uttar Pradesh were out on the streets against the Centre's Farm Laws and the police action on the agitating farmers on Wednesday.
Activists affiliated to the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU – Bhanu Group) blocked the Delhi-Noida National Highway at the Chilla border, leading to the closure of a key route which connects Uttar Pradesh with the national capital. Heavy security was deployed on both sides of the border – Delhi and Noida – with police personnel in huge numbers in order to prevent them from moving to Delhi and joining the farmers of Punjab and Haryana in protest.
The state president of the BKU (Bhanu group), Bhanu Pratap Singh, and state secretary Manoj Master led the protest. They said that they will continue their struggle till the time their demands were not met.
Requesting the government to repeal the three laws and make Minimum Support Price (MSP) mandatory by law, Bhanu Pratap said: “Farmers in Uttar Pradesh are in full support of their counterparts in Punjab and Haryana, and our protests will continue. Farmers in western UP are forced to sell their cane produce to kolhus below the MSP but the government is silent on this? When the government is not ready to solve the issue now, what will they do when the Farm Laws are in force,” Pratap told NewsClick, adding that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured that the MSP would remain, irrespective of the new laws, why couldn’t it have been included in the law.
“The MSP for a crop should be applicable throughout the country. The government will have to ensure that the crops are not purchased at a lower price than the MSP, set as per the government,” the BKU leader said, adding that if it happened, legal action should be initiated against the purchaser.
He also raised the issue of farmers’ arrests, demanding their immediate release. “More than two dozen farmers and activists in Uttar Pradesh have been jailed during the protest and they should be freed in a week. The government should lend an ear to all our demands and address them soon. Till that happens, we will continue our stir,” he said. He added that the farmers had come with their hookah pani (bread and butter) this time, and they would not return home until the government rolled back the controversial laws.
The BKU (Bhanu group) also staged dharnas and protests in Amroha, Sambhal, Moradabad and in other districts. Hundreds of farmers affiliated to the organisation held a protest at the collectorate office in Amroha and handed over their memorandum to the officials there.
Similar protests against the Centre’s controversial legislations were also held in several districts, including Sitapur, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Jaunpur, Gonda and the state capital of Lucknow by activists of the All India Peoples' Front, a socio-political outfit from the region. Workers from the Mazdoor Kisan Manch also extended their support to the protesting farmers.
The All India Peoples' Front leaders and supporters staged demonstrations and sat on a dharna outside administration offices in these districts.
“For the benefit of a few corporate houses of the country, the Modi government of the RSS-BJP has worked to enact all the three anti-farmer laws. Therefore, instead of confusing the country about the new laws, the PM should enact a law for MSP and ensure that there will be no purchase of farmers' crop below that price, and doing so would be a punishable offence," said Dinkar Kapoor, president of All India Peoples' Front. He added that the Modi government's attitude towards the farmers' movement still remains oppressive, with cases of rioting being framed against farmer leaders.
AIKS to Protest in 20 Districts from Tomorrow
On Thursday, the All India Kisan Sabha’s (AIKS) UP unit will organise a demonstration, sit-in protest and hunger strike in almost twenty districts including Bulandshahar, Mathura, Agra, Etawah Etah, Bijnor, Moradabad, Bareilly, Farrukhabad, Auraiya, Ballia, Deoria, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Mau, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Bhadohi, Chandauli, Allahabad, Sultanpur, Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar.
“Workers affiliated with All India Kisan Sabha will organise a demonstration in more than twenty districts of the state for at least three to four days against the Farm Laws as it is necessary to come out on the street else farmers will lose their land,” Dina Nath Singh, state secretary of AIKS told NewsClick.
Echoing similar sentiments, Mukut Singh, secretary, AIKS, UP said: “The kaala kanoon will destroy farming. These indigenous and big foreign capitalists will be allowed to loot farmers. Close to 80% of the public will be severely affected; minimum support prices, government purchases, mandis, cheaper rations, etc. will be eliminated.”