Thousands of farmers and workers held a Vidhan Sabha march in the capital city of Patna in Bihar on Monday, February 18, demanding the declaration of entire Bihar as drought hit, waiver of farm loans, a pension scheme of Rs. 10,000 per month for farmers and workers over 60 years, and 0.1 acre land for homes for the landless.
The farmers and workers marched to the Vidhan Sabha in Patna under the banner of the Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti (ABKSSS).
The sloganeering farmers and workers from across Bihar gathered at Gandhi Maidan and marched through JP Golumger, Akashwani and Fraser road, reaching the busy Dak Bungalow square in the heart of Patna, where they were forcibly stopped by the huge deployment of security forces in the square.
What followed was a round of heated exchange between the marching workers and farmers and the police forces, who warned the protesters against marching ahead. The farmers and workers then decided to turn the march into a meeting at the Dak Bungalow square. As a result, the entire stretch of Fraser road was full of the agitating protesters for hours, disrupting traffic.
The farmers and workers paid tribute to the CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ashok Prasad Singh, leader of the Bihar Rajya Kisan Sabha in his address said, “The central and state government are playing with the farmers. Due to wrong policies of the government 12,000 farmers have been forced to commit suicide in the country annually. Farmers are not getting genuine prices for their crops. Both the central and state government have failed to provide right price for farmers’ produce. It has resulted in farming becoming a big-loss making venture.”
He further pointed that till date, the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report have not been implemented.
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“Floods and droughts are creating problems for farmers and poor, and the landless have been forced to live like animals,” Singh said.
Warning about future protests, Singh added, “If the government continues to behave in its old style, farmers will oust the NDA government led by Narendra Modi at the centre and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Bihar.”
All India Kisan Mahasabha General secretary Raja Ram Singh said, “Both the governments, at the centre and state are anti farmers and workers. But we have to be united in our fight to achieve our genuine rights. We will force the government to give industry status to agriculture.”
Criticising the Modi government’s attitude in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, he said, “PM Modi has been busy doing politics over the martyrdom of the CRPF personnel. It is unfortunate and wrong. Modi should not throw the country into the flames of communalism and should not play the emotional card to divert people from real issues like farmers’ distress, agrarian crisis and joblessness,” he said.
All India Kisan Sabha leader Nand Kishore Shukla said, “Farmers in Bihar have been forced for distress sale of crops, while the landless agricultural labourers and poor workers were not provided any benefit by the government.”
The meeting was chaired by Bihar Rajya Khet Mazdoor Union General secretary Janki Paswan, Bihar Rajya Kisan Sabha General secretary Lalan Choudhary and the All India Kisan Mahasabha’s Bibdeshwar Yadav.
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