Internet services were blocked in Sikar district of Rajasthan on Monday, September 11, as thousands of farmers took to the streets in protest for remunerative crop prices, complete loan waiver and other demands.
The farmers’ agitation reached its eleventh day, after the All India Kisan Sabha gave a call on September 1 for a massive indefinite mahapadav (gherao) of District Collectorates in Rajasthan.
The All India Kisan Sabha had called for a state-wide bandh (shutdown) to be observed on September 11.
The bandh was strictly observed in Sikar district. A Newsclick correspondent currently in Sikar reports that more than 300 points across the district were blocked and fiercely guarded by women farmers holding an agricultural tool called ‘jeli’ as weapons.
Around ten thousand farmers sat in protest at a barricade near the Collectorate at Sikar district headquarters.
The bandh was also observed in other districts, including Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Churu, Bikaner, Nagaur and Jhunjhunu.
Farmers have gathered in District headquarters with their tractors, carts and other vehicles.
The Sikar district administration had imposed Section 144 of the CrPC (which prohibits the assembly of more than four people), but the farmers and other supporters broke the imposition.
The mahapadav has seen massive participation across Rajasthan, as lakhs of farmers and people from various other sections of society have marched in support of the farmers’ struggle. Students, youth, women, small traders, workers and even DJs have marched on the streets in various districts in solidarity.
A mock funeral of the Vasundhara Raje led BJP Government was also held, with farmers and large numbers of women participated across the State.
The mahapadav is seeking fulfillment of several promises made by the Modi government during the 2014 general elections.
The protesting farmers are demanding remunerative prices as recommended by the MS Swaminathan-headed National Commission on Farmers, with assured procurement.
The Commission had recommended a Minimum Support Price for farmers’ produce that ensures a minimum of 50% profit over the cost of production, and the same was promised by the BJP in its manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The Kisan Sabha is also demanding loan waiver for all agricultural workers, and for poor and middle farmers.
The other demands include a greater allocation for MGNREGA, higher wages and more days of work, pension of Rs 5,000 per month for every farmer and agricultural worker aged above 60 years, effective crop insurance, protection of crops from stray cattle and wild animals, and the withdrawal of the order restricting cattle trade.
Massive farmer uprisings had erupted in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in June with similar demands.
The BJP government in Rajasthan is yet to respond to the farmers’ demands, even as the agrarian crisis continues to worsen in the country.
The Kisan Sabha protest at Bikaner. Photo courtesy: Rajesh Nokhwal.
The Kisan Sabha protest at Churu. Photo courtesy: Rajesh Nokhwal.
The Kisan Sabha protest at the Ganganagar district collectorate. Photo courtesy: Rajesh Nokhwal.
Farmers' protest at Nagaur. Photo courtesy: Rajesh Nokhwal.