Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said the Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Federation has been constituted by 38 farmers’ groups from nine states to further strengthen the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, which is spearheading the agitation against the Centre’s farm laws.
“This federation will lend more strength to the SKM as more farmers’ outfits from various states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand will be on board,” he told reporters in Sonipat.
Surjit Singh, the state president of Punjab BKU (Krantikari), said a meeting was convened near the Singhu border protest site on Thursday, in which the announcement about the federation was made.
The aim is to connect more and more outfits in other states, he added.
“The 38 farmers’ groups which formed this federation were earlier not associated with any farmer outfit. Its purpose is to have all those groups that have so far not come under the umbrella of SKM to be onboard as it will help lend more strength to this ongoing agitation,” Singh said.
A five-member committee will run the affairs of this federation, said Chaduni.
The SKM is an umbrella body of protesting unions, spearheading the stir against the farm laws.
While thousands of farmers have been agitating against the farm laws, the central government has maintained that the laws are pro-farmer. Several rounds of talks between farmers and the government have failed to break the deadlock over the three central legislations.
The farmers’ protest is an ongoing protest against three farm acts which were passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020.
Farmer unions and their representatives have demanded that the laws be repealed and have stated that they will not accept a compromise. Farmer leaders have welcomed the Supreme Court of India stay order on the implementation of the farm laws but rejected the committee appointed by the Supreme Court.
Farmer leaders have also rejected a government proposal, dated 21 January 2021, of suspending the laws for 18 months. On 3 February, farmer leaders warned of escalating the protest to overthrowing the government if the farm laws were not repealed.
The stay order on the implementation of the farm laws remains in effect, and the Supreme Court appointed committee continues with its tasks related to the farm laws. Six state governments (Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi and West Bengal) have passed resolutions against the farms acts, and three states (Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) have tabled counter legislation in their respective state assemblies. None of the counter legislation passed the respective state governors.
The acts, often called the Farm Bills, have been described as “anti-farmer laws” by many farmer unions, and politicians from the opposition also say it would leave farmers at the “mercy of corporates”.
The farmers have also demanded the creation of an Minimum Support Price (MSP) Bill, to ensure that corporates cannot control the prices. The government, however, maintains that the laws will make it effortless for farmers to sell their produce directly to big buyers, and stated that the protests are based on misinformation.