Kisan Mahapanchayat: Thousands Of Farmers Gather In DelhiMar 20, 2023 | Pratirodh Bureau
Just five kilometres away from Parliament, thousands of farmers wearing turbans of different colours and styles gathered at the iconic Ramlila Maidan on Monday for a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’, demanding that the government fulfil the “written commitments” it made to them in December 2021.
The farmers have converged under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a grouping of farmer unions, that led around a one year-long agitation at Delhi borders and forced the government to withdraw the farm laws.
The farmers’ demands include a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP), withdrawal of cases registered against farmers, compensation to families of farmers who died during the protest, pension, debt waiver, and withdrawal of the Electricity Bill.
Avik Saha, national president, Jai Kisan Andolan, said the central government has failed to meet the demands of farmers despite written commitments. “Thousands of cases against farmers remain pending. More than 750 farmers lost their lives during the protest and compensation to their families are unpaid. And there are several other demands which have not been met,” he said.
Baldev Singh, a 47-year-old farmer from Moga district of Punjab, said some members of the SKM had “gone astray” due to different reasons and the ‘mahapanchayat’ also aims at bringing them together.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Morcha had said that SKM leaders would speak about the impact of government policies on farmers, agricultural and migrant labour, rural workers, unemployment, rising cost of living and declining purchasing power.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police deployed over 2,000 security personnel at the venue. Elaborate security arrangements were put in place to ensure that the event goes smoothly, the police said on Sunday. The police personnel were also deployed for crowd management and to ensure that no unauthorised person gains entry and disrupts law and order, they said.
According to an advisory by the Delhi Traffic Police, around 15,000-20,000 people were likely to participate in the ‘mahapanchayat’. Lakhs of farmers from various states and Union territories headed to Delhi to attend the event, it said.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday, Morcha leader Darshan Pal had said, “The Centre must fulfil the assurances it gave to us in writing on December 9, 2021, and also take effective steps to mitigate the ever-increasing crisis faced by farmers.”