Haryana: Huge Mahapanchayat on January 26, Farmers to Gather in Jind
During the farmers' movement at the borders of Delhi, big Kisan mahapanchayats were organised across the country, especially in North India. The people coming to these panchayats used to listen to the farmer leaders very seriously. The people who came here knew well why the panchayats were being organised. They included all castes and communities, helping take the movement to villagers, thereby strengthening the front on the borders of Delhi. The January 26 gathering will probably be the biggest gathering of farmers after the withdrawal of the farmers' movement.
Like the earlier panchayats, thousands of people are expected to attend the Kisan Mahapanchayat on January 26. Its preparation is also going on in full swing. NewsClick talked to the farmer leaders and tried to understand the preparation of this mahapanchayat and its importance for the farmers of the country.
Yudhveer Singh, General Secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait), told NewsClick, "After hoisting the national flag to celebrate Republic Day and without disrupting official government programs, tractor rallies will be taken out, and protests will be held at the district headquarters."
Singh further said, "January 26 is our Republic Day, and we will gather on that day to save the basic objectives of the Republic. Along with this, we will expose the conspiracy of the BJP government to break the unity of the toiling farmers of the country. The government had hatched a big conspiracy to defame the farmers on January 26, 2021, but the unity of the farmers did not allow it to succeed."
On January 26, 2021, the farmers had announced to take out a tractor march inside Delhi from their fronts running on the Delhi borders, but during this time, some farmers had reached the Red Fort with tractors and hoisted a flag with a religious symbol. In several scuffles with the police, a few police personnel were also injured. Along with that, many farmers sustained injuries, with one losing his life.
However, even after two years of violence, to date, the government has not been able to say anything for sure who was the conspirator behind this incident. The farmers blame the government for this incident and say that the government had hatched this conspiracy to defame the farmers of the country and their movement.
In Haryana, where this Kisan Mahapanchayat is to be held, senior farmer leader Indrajit, who is associated with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and is the National Vice President of All
India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), told NewsClick, "Preparations are going on war-footing in the entire state for this Mahapanchayat. People are being mobilised at the district and block levels."
He further says, "The purpose of this mahapanchayat is to remind the government sitting in Delhi of the promises made to us. The government had given us written promises, but to date, no promise has been fulfilled. Farmers are forced to fight on issues like complete debt waiver and withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020. Farmers are once again uniting on the SKM call regarding these demands."
Indrajeet adds, "In Haryana, AIKS will gather 25,000 people and bring them to the panchayat. Other farmers' organisations are also engaged in uniting the farmers. Along with this, we have made arrangements for tea and food for 50,000 farmers. Farmers from nearby villages are engaged for this, while our farmers from Punjab will arrange many mobile langars."
NewsClick asked Indrajit about the differences between different farmers' organisations after the withdrawal of the movement. He said, "There were some differences in some farmers' organisations in Punjab, but after the elections, most people joined the front. In such a big movement, farmers are more important than farmers' organisations and their leaders. Farmers are mobilising against the anti-farmer policies of the government."
Joginder Singh Ugrahan, a big farmers' leader of Punjab and a big pillar of SKM and his farmer organisation Bharatiya Kisan Union Ugrahan (BKU-Ugrahan), is gathering farmers across Punjab to make this mahapanchayat successful.
One such conference was held in Patiala on January 19, in which BKU-Ugrahan's statec committee leader Jagtar Singh Kalajhar said that every organisational unit of Patiala district is preparing to fill at least one bus.
"Women farmers are showing incredible enthusiasm."
Farmers's leader Sukhminder Singh Baran said that after the historic victory of repealing the anti-farmer laws, there is now a fight to implement important demands related to improving the lives of farmers in this countrywide movement.
"Along with demanding remunerative minimum support price (MSP) and guarantee of legal procurement on not one or two but all 23 crops, the movement will include many other demands. They are: complete justice in relation to the Lakhmirpur Kheri massacre, cancellation of Electricity Bill 2021, elimination of debt on the heads of farmers and labourers, Old age pension to farmers including women above 60, full compensation under crop insurance scheme for crop failure, withdrawal of all police cases registered in the Delhi movement and, proper compensation to the heirs of all the farmer labourers who died in the movement."
Farmers from the hill state of Himachal Pradesh are also expected to participate in this mahapanchayat. Himachal Kisan Sabha President Kuldeep Singh Tanwar said that the weather is now unfavourable, and it is snowing in the state, due to which roads are closed in many areas.
"That's why a group of about 100 farmers will symbolically join the Jind Kisan Mahapanchayat from here."
Tanwar further says, "In our state, farmers get MSP only on wheat and paddy, which is a small part of our agricultural produce. However, due to the lack of a proper market for the same, not all farmers benefit from MSP. Farmers in our state produce a large number of apples and vegetables."
He further explains that the state used to produce about 20 lakh tonnes of vegetables while 6 lakh tonnes of apples were produced, but due to the anti-farmer policy of the government, farmers do not get a fair price.
"We have been demanding from the government for many years to announce the prices of apples on the lines of Jammu and Kashmir, but to date, these demands have not been met. Farmers are agitated about these questions. The outline of the big farmer's movement will also be announced."
On the other hand, farmers' organisations of Rajasthan will not participate in the Jind Mahapanchayat. Still, as already decided, tractor marches and protests will be held at district headquarters in many districts of the state.
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