A week after Bharatiya Kisan Sangh's Kisan Mazdoor Yatra, thousands of farmers on Wednesday gathered at Delhi-UP border, Ghazipur, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti under the umbrella of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and held 'Mahapanchayat' to raise various farming-related demands that have not been been fulfilled by the government.
Farmers raised slogans against the government during the Panchayat and claimed that they will come every year to the UP Gate in large numbers until the government does not sort out farmers' issues. The UP Gate will now become 'Kisan Kranti Gate', as the government has always stopped them from reaching the national capital to raise their voice, they said.
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait led the protest and reached UP Gate to participate in the Mahapanchayat. Security had been beefed up at the border to control the law and order situation.
Speaking to NewsClick, Tikait of Bharatiya Kisan Union said, "We gathered at the UP Gate to raise several serious issues. The government is going to procure fruits from China and milk from New Zealand. Now, the foreign countries will sell milk in our country, which will finish our employment. The condition of the farmers in UP is miserable. They are struggling with the economic crisis while the government is in deep slumber. Sugarcane farmers have not been paid on time. By increasing the electricity rate, the Adityanath government in UP is putting more burden on the farmers due to which they are forced to commit suicides. And on the other hand, business is being given to China and New Zealand."
Tikait listed other several issues in front of the farmers such as the Seed Bill, which is going to be tabled in the Parliament, loan waivers and minimum support price (MSP). He said, "The UP government is promoting contract farming and has given permission [for it], and on the other hand, central government is introducing the Seed Bill and after that, foreign countries will bring their own seeds and do farming here. At a time when farmers in India are on the verge of destruction due to the failure of this government, by bringing a Bill that is against the farmers, the government is forcing us to commit suicide."
The Bharatiya Kisan Union leader pointed out that more than 15 crore families across the country will suffer the consequences following this move.
"The government has only fixed the minimum support price, but they are not buying our products at the MSP rate," Tikait alleged.
Thousands of farmers and union leaders from several districts including Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Noida have gathered at UP Gate also to mark the one-year anniversary of Kisan Kranti March, where clashes had taken place between the police and the angry protesters, when they were trying to enter Delhi. The police reportedly had used water cannon to disperse the protesters and resorted to lathi-charge. Several farmers were injured and had to be admitted to hospitals.
The farmers, under the banner of Rashtriya Kisan Sangathan, had flagged off ‘Kisan Mazdoor Adhikar Yatra’ on September 17 this year from Saharanpur and Shamli and other parts of Uttar Pradesh. The farmers were supposed to reach Kisan Ghat, Delhi on September 21, but they were stopped at the UP Gate. The farmers remained adamant and said they will not leave the spot until their demands are met. Later, farmers called off their march after a meeting between a farmers’ delegation and the principal secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture at Krishi Bhawan. However, the farmers made it clear that their movement would continue until their demands, such as payment of sugarcane dues, loan waivers, cheap electricity, check on stray cattle, were fully met.
Read More: Kisan Mazdoor Adhikar Yatra: Thousands of Farmers Marching From UP To Delhi with 15 Demands