Farmers' Movement to Continue With Pending Demands; Rallies on Nov 26 to Mark 1st Anniversary
The SKM, the joint platform of farmers unions leading the protests, appealed to farmers in the North Indian states to reach the different morcha sites on November 26, which marks the completion of one year of continuous peaceful protests by farmers at Delhi's borders. Rallies would be held across India to mark the day. In states that are far from Delhi, the first anniversary would be observed with tractor and bullock cart parades in the capital cities, along with other protests.
Further, the SKM also urged farmers to make the Kisan Mahapanchayat to be held in Lucknow on November 22 a great success and participate with "full energy". Then, on November 28, a massive Kisan Mazdoor Mahapanchayat will be organised in Mumbai's Azad Maidan under the banner of Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha with over 100 organisations. From November 29, a peaceful and disciplined march to the Parliament in tractor trolleys with 500 protestors per day will take place, the Morcha said. Similarly, toll plazas that have been freed up from any fee collections would continue to be kept free, it said.
"While the Prime Minister of India announced his government's decision to repeal three black farm laws, he chose to remain silent on the pending demands of farmers," the SKM said in its statement. It pointed out that the government was choosing to ignore the major demands raised by the movement even after such a protracted struggle.
Underlining that the demand for a statutory guarantee for a fair Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops was an integral part of the farmers' agitation, the SKM said, "Farmers of the country were struggling for a legally-guaranteed remunerative MSP for all agricultural produce for several years now, and have staged numerous protests around the country. The farm laws brought in by the Modi Government were in an opposite direction, and farmers were forced to put up resistance against these laws, in a battle of life and death for themselves and future generations."
Besides, the farmers' movement has also sought the withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill and exemption from penal clauses related to statutes on air quality regulations in Delhi. All these demands are still pending.
The SKM said that the hundreds of false cases filed to implicate thousands of farmers in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, and other states have to be withdrawn unconditionally.
So far, more than 670 protestors have died as 'martyrs' during the movement, the Morcha said, noting that the Modi government refused to acknowledge the high human cost of the protests due to "its adamant and egoistic behaviour". The families of the deceased persons have to be provided with compensation and employment opportunities, the platform demanded. "The martyrs also deserve homage to be paid to them in the Parliament session and a memorial erected in their name," the SKM said.
The SKM also urged accountability in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh, where a car belonging to Union minister Ajay Mishra's son ran over and killed four farmers and a journalist. However, Ajay Mishra continues not to face any legal action and remains a Minister in the Modi Government, much to the farmers' despair. "In fact, Ajay Mishra continues to adorn the stage in government functions like the Annual Conference of DGPs/IGPs underway in Lucknow from yesterday. In a provocative manner, he has been made by the DM of Lakhimpur Kheri as the Chief Guest of the inauguration event of the crushing season in Sampoornanagar sugar mill on November 24," The SKM said, adding that the Mill owes at least Rs 43 crores to farmers for the last season.
"The district administration surely realises the upset mood of the local farmers, and also knows that the Supreme Court is taking a suo motu interest in impartiality for justice in Lakhimpur Kheri Massacre. SKM advises the DM to cancel the planned event immediately. SKM demands strongly once again that Ajay Mishra Teni be arrested and sacked from the Council of Ministers of the Union Government,” it said in its statement.
After the PM’s announcement of the laws’ withdrawal, the families of those killed in Lakhimpur Kheri said that Modi’s decision to withdraw the three contentious farm laws could have been taken earlier, saving precious lives of not only the four farmers in Lakhimpur but nearly 700 farmers from across the country.
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