Kolkata: Over 500 small and big protest marches were held across West Bengal to express solidarity with the farmer protests on Delhi’s borders against the three ‘black’ farm laws introduced by the Centre.
“The sheer number of rallies shows the discontent brewing in the minds of average farmers. Interestingly, both the farmers’ plight and the rallies are being poorly reported in the national and state,” All India Kisan Sabha State Secretary Amal Haldar told Newsclick.
Asked what was leading to the number of protest rallies being held November 27 onward, Haldar, who is also state convenor of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said: “There are similarities in our and the demands raised by Punjab farmers marching towards New Delhi. Furthermore, the attempt to start contract farming will shift focus from food crops to cash crops destroying self-reliance in food that the state had.”
“These issues are being projected as agrarian issues but are not so as these touch every section of society,” Haldar said, adding that “like the tactics employed during the last general strike, instead of holding huge rallies, squads of 20 to 50 people are being taken out throughout the state, raising slogans about peasants’ demands.”
On Monday, rallies were held in Burdwan, Dhupguri, Taherpur (Nadia), Canning Ghutiary Shariff (South 24 Parganas), Bongaon North, Domkol (Murshidabad) Malda Town and Mekhligang in Coochbehar district amongst others.
Tushar Ghosh, State President of All India Agricultural Workers Union, said the scenario in both Punjab or Haryana is dependent on the government marketing mechanism which West Bengal does not have, where farmers sell produce in local mandis or markets.
However in the case of West Bengal, too, the effects of the farm laws will be felt, as issues like deletion of Minimum Support Price, welcoming foreign giants like Walmart in contract farming and taking away farm commodities from Essential Commodities Act will cripple the entire agricultural system of the country.
” Hence, the Central government’s vile intent of deleting MSP is leading more and more farmers to protest in West Bengal also”, he said, adding that rallies were also being held in West Bengal as part of the December 1 solidarity call given by AIKCC with farmers of North India.