'Will Bury Politics of Riots in Muzaffarnagar’, says Farmer Leader Ahead of Sept 5 Mahapanchayat
New Delhi: Even as farmers’ organisations are preparing for a prolonged struggle against the lathi-charge, which reportedly resulted in the death of one farmer in Haryana’s Karnal, preparations for the September 5 ‘mahapanchayat’ in Muzaffarnagar are in full swing.
The protesting farmers are gearing up for a massive “show of strength” against three Central farm laws, Electricity (Amendment) Act and a law penalising the acquisition of grains below minimum support price, against which they have been agitating for the past nine months.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha or SKM -- a collective of over 40 farmers’ unions -- had announced that they would organise ‘mahapanchayat ‘in each commissionerate in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the run-up to the Assembly elections in these states due early next year, to make ordinary people aware about the laws and their impact on the rural economy.
For D P Singh, a veteran farmer leader from All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), much is at stake for farmers in Western Uttar Pradesh. Talking to NewsClick, Singh said SKM has made elaborate arrangements to ferry people to the venue from neighbouring districts. “Even though we have very limited strength, we have booked 100 buses from Bulandshahar alone to carry protesters to the venue. In neighbouring districts too, similar arrangements are being done.”
He said there was palpable anger against the apathy of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Yogi Aditynath government in UP, both led by the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP).
“Given the outrage against the Modi-Yogi duo, my estimate is that the venue will run out of space. This rally aims at three basic purposes; ensure wider mobilisation, expose three Central laws and defeat BJP, which is protecting these laws in Parliament. We are conducting door to door campaigns, organising village and block level meetings too,” he said, adding that “September 5 will be first meeting after which similar gatherings would be organised in other commissionerates.”
The SKM, in a statement, said that a meeting in Hathras’ Sadabad saw a massive turnout in one of the preparatory meetings on Tuesday.
When asked why they chose Muzaffarnagar to hold the first such meeting, Singh said: “There was consensus among the farmers’ organisations that Muzaffarnagar should hold such a meeting for the basic reason that it is the place which BJP used to foment communal tensions across the country.”
The AIKS leader said the farmers’ movement, in the past nine months, had emerged as a unifier, transcending beyond the barriers of caste and religion.
“Through this mahapanchayat and subsequent comprehensive actions, we will ensure that the politics of riots gets buried in Muzaffarnagar alone”, he added.
Asked if they are expecting a similar response in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, a traditional stronghold of BJP, Singh said the ground situation had “changed drastically” in the past months.
“At Ghazipur border, we have seen higher participation of farmers from districts like Gorakhpur and Ballia. The fact is that people are being brutally repressed and the movement has given them hope,” he added.
Jagtar Singh Bajwa, a key constituent of SKM Uttarakhand, told NewsClick that farmers in Terai region of the hill state and neighbouring districts of Rampur, Lakhimpur Kheri and Pilibhit too are gearing up for the September 5 rally.
Talking to NewsClick over phone, Bajwa said volunteers have been organising incessant village and block level meetings to explain to the people how ill-conceived the laws were.
“Every movement has its unique trait. In democracy, when your complaints are unheard, you ultimately go to the people and ask them to correct their decision electorally. We, too, are going to our brothers and telling them that an injustice is being done to us. Please tell BJP to mend its ways,” he added.
Karnal Lathi-Charge Protest
In a separate development, four Left parties in Haryana -- CPI(M), CPI, CPIML Liberation, SUCI (Communist) -- said they would hold statewide joint protest action on September 1 against Basatada (Karnal) lathi-charge demanding action against Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha for ordering a “barbaric lathi- charge” on peaceful demonstration by farmers.
All four left party leaders held a meeting and demanded that the Karnal SDM be sacked and a case filed under Section 302,120 B and the Haryana government should order a judicial investigation on the matter. The leaders also demanded for proper compensation to the family of “martyr” farmer Sushil Kajal.
The Left parties have urged their district committees and units to burn the effigy of the government and send a memorandum to the Governor through deputy commissioners on September 1, after protest actions across the state.
As an interim help, AIKS leaders met the family of deceased farmer and handed over a cheque of Rs 1 Lakh in Karnal.
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