Hyderabad: Telugu States are gearing up for the Bharat bandh on Tuesday demanding the quashing of three farm laws passed by the central government in September. The farmers' movement that began on the November 26 all India general strike day turned historic at Delhi’s border where farmers from neighbouring states have now entered 12th day of protests. Meanwhile, farmers’ organisations are holding protest demonstrations across the country.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a body that includes nearly 500 farmers’ organisations from across India, has called for a Bharat Bandh on December 8 against the “anti-farm laws” and the proposed Electricity (amendment) bill. The bandh has been subsequently supported by 18 major political parties and hundreds of other organisations working across sectors.
In Telangana, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), opposition Congress and Left parties have appealed to all sections of people to support the bandh call of the farmers. Telangana Municipal Minister and TRS working president K Taraka Ramarao has urged traders, transport workers and this party cadres to participate in the shutdown and send a strong message to the central government.
CPI(M) Telangana state general secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram said that all left parties and their affiliated mass organisations are set to join protest demonstrations across the state as part of the bandh.
B Prasad of the All India Agricultural Workers Union said, “If corporations are allowed to stock crop produce including essential commodities, the subsidised ration distribution scheme, which benefits 85 lakh white ration card holding families in Telangana will come under threat. By encouraging contract farming, the already declining agricultural manpower will further decline pushing the agriculture labourers into unemployment.”
Students and youth organisations, including Students Federation of India (SFI), Progressive Democratic Students Union (PDSU), All India Students’ Federation (AISF), and All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO), have stated that their members will join the Bharat Bandh.
“Members of 25 farmers organisations in Telangana will gather on the streets across districts in Telangana on Tuesday. The farmers’ agitation will not stop until the three anti-farm laws are quashed by the central government,” said T Sagar, Secretary of Telangana Rythu Sangam (All India Kisan Sabha).
“What happened to Narendra Modi’s promise of doubling farmer’s income? Why is the BJP government against providing Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission? How long will Modi continue to betray farmers?” asked Sagar.
In both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, banks, transportation sector, industries, small and medium enterprises, shops, health and education sectors are expected to shut down on December 8.
Joint platforms of employees and workers in the Telugu speaking states have called for working class people to participate in the complete shutdown.
“Why are YSRCP (Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party) and Telugu Desam Party governments silent on the farmers’ movement while TRS, DMK and other parties are opposing the farm bills and supporting the bandh?” questioned P Madhu, General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh unit of Communist Party of India (Marxist) while addressing a press conference in Nellore district. He asked the people of Andhra Pradesh to participate voluntarily in the Bharat Bandh.
“Since November 26, farmers across districts in Andhra are holding protest demonstrations in solidarity with the farmers in Delhi who are protesting in spite of massive crackdown by the police,” said Y Kesav Rao of Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham. He added that lakhs of farmers are against the corporatisation of agriculture and will join the protests on December 8.
On Sunday, members of CPI, CPI(M), tenant farmers’ groups and farmers organisations held rallies, relay hunger strikes and road blockades, urging people to support the Bandh on Tuesday.