Kisan Mukti Yatra in South India will be commencing at Hyderabad, covering states- Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka from September 16 to 23. With two core demands “Freedom from Debt for farmers” and “Remunerative Prices for all farmers, with 50% margin above the Cost of cultivation,” the first phase of the Yatra was started in July and has covered states Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The nationwide rally being organised by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) is intended to bring farmers across the country together and build unprecedented pressure on the Central and State governments to meet their demands.
A joint statement, addressed by Prof. Kodandaram and several other leaders as the Yatra enters South India, said “it is important to remember that three South Indian states are among the top five states in the country in farmer suicides – Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Most of South India is reeling from a second successive year of drought. In Tamil Nadu, this is considered as the worst drought situation in more than 100 years. Despite the Supreme Court orders on drought relief, there is a clear failure of the governments to provide substantive relief to the farmers, and most importantly, to protect them from falling into deep debt.”
Elaborating on the “freedom from debt” demand, they said, it is “not limited to a one-time waiver of bank loans but, only when private indebtedness is also addressed, and when it is ensured that the farmer doesn’t fall back into debt the next year, does ‘Freedom from Debt’ have a true meaning.” And to prevent indebtedness, they said it is also crucial to provide remunerative prices as defined by Swaminathan Commission.
Recently, Party chief of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghathana, Raju Shetti, MP, has announced snapping ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) citing dissatisfaction over Narendra Modi government’s anti-farmer policies. He will be joining the Yatra in south India along with several members of the AIKSCC.
According to the press release, 25 farmer Unions and Organisations from Telangana are joining the Yatra in the state. They include Telangana Joint Action Committee, All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, Telangana Rythu JAC, Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch, Telangana Rythu Sangham, All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, Telangana Rythu Coolie Sangham, Dalit Bahujan Front. It stated that farmers are coming on to the roads everywhere because they realize that the government policies and failures are behind the crisis in agriculture.
As a common public mobilization campaign, Kishan Mukti Yatra is led by a coalition of more than 160 farmer’s organisations across the country. This Yatra is scheduled to culminate with a mega rally (Kisan Sansad) at Ramlila Maidan, Delhi on November 20, 2017.