Kolkata: As many as 21 farmers organisations under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) on Saturday observed the ‘Save Agriculture , Save Democracy Day’ in front of the East Gate of Kolkata’s Raj Bhawan.
The programme was held while abiding with all COVID protocol measures across all district headquarters in West Bengal. The call was in line with all-India call by AIKSCC for observance of the protest day throughout the country.
Addressing the gathering, AIKSCC state convenor Amal Halder criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government for keeping its eyes and ears shut for the past seven months by refusing to concede the demands by farmers who have been protesting at New Delhi’s borders against the three farm laws, among others. He also appealed to the common people of the country to come forward and join the struggle to save democracy in the country.
Saturday also marked the completion of seven months of the farmers’ sit-in protests in Delhi, as also the 46th anniversary of the imposition of Emergency in the country. It is also the death anniversary of farmer leader Swami Sahajananda Saraswati .
There is an unproclaimed Emergency in the country with the BJP government trying to destroy constitutional democracy of the country, said the farmer leaders.
The programme also saw participation from different trade unions, employees federations, students, youth and women‘s organisations as well as citizen forums.
The protesters demanded scrapping of the three new ‘black’ farm laws, adding that the country’s agriculture sector cannot be secondary to corporate interests. It also demanded legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) across the country and that the procurement system through government channels should not be stopped, as it would hurt the farmers as well as destroy the rationing system of the country.
The other demands included an end to contract farming, the Essential Commodities Act should not be scrapped but should be strengthened, scrapping of the Electricity Act 2020, the new labour codes that take away the rights of workers, free vaccination for all.
The state-specific demands included saving the Sundarbans area from the onslaught of yearly floods by constructing permanent embankments.