The farmers’ organisations on Sunday said that they would be protesting every day in front of the Parliament during the upcoming monsoon session to press for the three central farm laws to be repealed and legal guarantee of minimum support price for crops (MSP).
The farmers, under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha, have been protesting at the borders of the national capital against the farm laws for the last seven months. The farmers' organisations are opposed to the acts because they say the laws would compromise the food security of India and deeply hurt the income of farmers by establishing private mandis across the country.
Addressing a press conference at the Singhu Border protest site, Balbir Singh Rajewal, President of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal), said that the monsoon session of the Parliament would commence from July 19 and farmers would begin their action two days earlier on July 17. They would hand out ‘warning letters’ to Opposition leaders for them to raise the issue in the Parliament. Rajewal said, ”We had a meeting of the Morcha today and we decided that we would be demonstrating in front of the parliament every single day during the monsoon session. Initially, the demonstration will have 200 protesters only, five from each organisation. They would be going to the Parliament every day from the border in the buses.”
The veteran leader said that the farmers expect that opposition leaders would raise their issues in the Parliament and for that, the protesters would be building pressure from outside. "We also wish to make it clear that they should not walk out of the house and give the Bharatiya Janata Party an easy route to do whatever they want. They should face whatever comes. The farmers have already announced their protest on July 8 against increasing petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices. The people would be coming on the streets along with gas cylinders and stage their protest. We make it clear that there are no programmes to block the traffic.”
When asked for comment on the statement of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar where he stated the talks on repealing the laws would not happen, Rajewal said, ”Union Ministers Mr Narendra Singh Tomar and Mr Piyush Goyal were part of eleven rounds of formal talks with the Samyukt Kisan Morcha representatives in the months of December 2020 and January 2021. Farmers have already clearly stated why amendments will not work. The government's intentions are not trustworthy; farmers know that keeping the laws alive will lead to abuse of executive power towards the same objective of supporting corporates in various ways at the expense of farmers. Further, when the very objective of some legislation has gone wrong and is against farmers, it is obvious that a majority of clauses inside the statute will be to meet those wrong objectives; mere tinkering here and there will not work.”
He added, "We have also pointed out that these laws have been brought in unconstitutionally and undemocratically. The central government has ventured into areas where it has no constitutional authority. To worsen matters, it also followed undemocratic procedures to thrust the laws on the nation's farmers. All of this is unacceptable, and therefore, farmers are firm on their repeal demand." It has been contested by the critics of the farm laws are 'unconstitutional' as these are the Centre’s overreach into agriculture, which falls under the State List. Under the Constitution's Seventh Schedule both the Centre and state governments can pass laws in subjects mentioned under the Concurrent List and when there is a conflict between central and state laws, the former will prevail. For the farm laws, the Centre has justified its move citing its power under the Concurrent List to legislate on aspects of “trade and commerce”.
"On the other hand, the government has so far not given a single reason as to why these laws cannot and should not be repealed. We can only conclude that an elected government in the world's largest democracy is playing ego-games with the largest section of its citizens -- farmers. And is preferring to choose the interests of crony capitalists over the annadaatas (food giver) of the country.”
Krishna Prasad, Finance Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, told NewsClick after the press conference that the modalities regarding the place of the demonstration were being worked out as they involve negotiations with the Delhi Police. When asked about the reason behind the limited number of protesters, he said, "carrying a large number of protesters may cause discipline issues. We will see how the present protest transpires and take decisions accordingly.”
Gurnam Singh Chaduni, President of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni), said that his union members along with the residents of Khori village would be protesting in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence on July 6 to oppose the eviction of over one lakh villagers after the Supreme Court’s order. He said, "The residents are extremely poor and they have been thrown on the road without any rehabilitation or compensation. Interestingly, the order does not affect the five luxury hotels in the same vicinity. We believe that even though the Supreme Court has given its order, there are other avenues too through which these residents can be given relief and the prime minister should intervene into the matter.” In its judgement, the Supreme Court said the residents encroached on the eco-sensitive Aravali land and their houses should be razed down by July 19.
Commenting on the upcoming panchayat polls, Chaduni said that the union would oppose the candidates fielded by the BJP and its ally Jan Nayak Janta Party. He said, "We would be asking farmers to support the candidates who extended direct and indirect contribution to the movement.”