To protest against the recently passed Agriculture Bills by the Modi government, the All India Kisan Sabha and All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti has given a call for nationwide agitation on September 25.
The call for protest has also been supported by the trade unions across India to voice their opposition against the new labour codes. While farmers from northern India, including Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, have been pouring out on the roads against the bills, now the agitation is all set to spread across Maharashtra with the protest call on September 25.
While appealing to the farmers of Maharashtra to participate in the agitation, All India Kisan Sabha's president Ashok Dhavale said, "The changes in farmers laws are nothing but betrayal to the farmers’ interests. Everyone knows that Modi government has done this in the interest of multinationals as well as Indian players like Ambani and Adani. This is an attempt to snatch the rights of farmers for few capitalists of the country. AIKS has decided to take the issue to the farmers and farm labours in the field. We appeal everyone who cares for Indian farmers to participate in the protest on September 25."
Former MP and leader of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Raju Shetti, has also extended his support to the protest. "Farmers know how to sow the seeds and also know how to cut the crop. Modi sarkar has brought such a situation that farmers will either be pushed out of the field or will have no security regarding the rates of their crops. Farmers of India will not tolerate this draconian change in the law of MSP. Nobody believes the words of Modi as he has a habit of breaking his promises. Therefore we will participate in the protest across Maharashtra to register our strong opposition to the changes," he said.
Manik Kadam of the Shetkari Sanghatana from Parbhani claimed that the Marathwada region will see huge support for the agitation. "The struggle of Indian farmers has increased since the Modi Sarkar came to power. It is continuously pushing anti-farmer agenda. This needs to be stopped with larger protests. The current changes seems to be uniting farmers to stand for their interests," he added.
The organisers of this protest have received a boost as all three ruling parties are planning to participate in it. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday, September 22, said, "We have unanimity to participate in the protest against the changes in farmers bills as well as proposed changes in labour laws. Some 150 organisations are planning to do these protests. Our party will declare its stand officially later. But, yes we will participate and support this."
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Congress state president and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat also said that Congress is planning to join the statewide agitation against BJP and the Modi government. "We will actively and jointly protest on September 25. But we will not rest there. We are also planning protests in every teshil against Modi government," he added.
Maharashtra has 350 tehsil market committees. There are a few other market committees at major centres like Pune, Nasik, Nahi Mumbai, Byculla where the daily turnover runs into crores of rupees. Navi Mumbai is Asia's largest APMC. Ashok Dak, chairman of this market committee, told NewsClick that there are strong emotions of resistance in farmers as well as agents in the market committee.
"The small time trader and small farmers will vanish from the scene if Modi government doesn't take back the bills. It will ultimately harm the majority of farmers everywhere. So, our directors, agents and also the farmers related to the committee are vocal against these changes," said Dak. He added that there is no such decision to close the market on September 25 but there could be protest by various stakeholders in market area.
Shashikant Shinde, NCP MLC and leader of Mathadi Kamgar Unions, which mainly consists of coolie in APMCs, said that the workers, too, are planning to join the protest. "This decision will destroy the larger chain of agriculture produce. Today more than 3,000 workers are directly dependent on one APMC of Navi Mumbai. There are thousands of such workers everywhere. We can't reject their right to livelihood like this. We will protest against the changes in bills on September 25," he said.
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