On Monday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) clarified that it did not give the ‘Delhi Chalo’ call for February 13 and strongly condemned the Centre’s handling of the protest. It alleged that an atmosphere of terror is being created to frighten people.
Along with the central trade unions (CTUs), the SKM has given a call for a nationwide strike and a rural bandh on February 16. Many other sectoral organisations and unions have supported the call.
The ‘Delhi Chalo’ call for February 13 has been issued by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political), a splinter group of the original SKM, and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha.
The Narendra Modi government has set up sheets of iron nails, barbed wire and concrete barricades on the highways at the Delhi and Punjab borders. The SKM has expressed anguish over this move of the government.
The umbrella body of farmers’ unions, while clarifying that the Delhi Chalo call for February 13 has not been issued by the SKM and it has nothing to do with the protest, said that the other organisations have a right to protest. It added that it is the responsibility of the Union government that instead of resorting to excessive state repression, it should treat such protests in a democratic manner.
The umbrella body said, “The administration is imposing section 144 in and around Delhi and Haryana and diverting the traffic without any prior advisory to the public. It is creating an atmosphere of terror to frighten people. The Modi government is treating the protesters as if they are enemies of the country.”
It said further, “SKM urges PM Modi to clarify why his government is not ready for discussion with the platforms of farmers and workers in the context of the countrywide Grameen Bandh and Industrial/ Sectoral Strike call on 16 February on the demand of people’s livelihoods?”
The SKM also condemned the arrest of farmer leaders and several activists who are part of SKM in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It said, “SKM reminds Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Mohan Yadav that India has a Constitution that enshrines the right to protest for all citizens. SKM appeals to all the political parties and the class and mass organisations of all sections to condemn this highhandedness by the Modi administration.”
Many activists in Madhya Pradesh have been arrested from various parts of the state. SKM’s five state leaders, including Kisan Sabha’s Ram Narayan Kuraria, his wife and AIDWA leader Anjana Kuraria, Kisan Sangharsha Samithi’s Aradhana Bhargava, BKU (Tikait)’s Anil Yadav and NAPM’s Rajkumar Sinha were arrested and jailed under section 151 of CRPC.
“The repression by the Union and the state governments under the BJP will be rebuffed by the people. The farmers and workers with the support of all sections of the people will ensure Industrial/Sectoral Strike and Grameen Bandh is massive, vibrant and successful,” the SKM added.
Ahead of farmer unions’ planned march to Delhi on February 13, the authorities in Haryana and Delhi have tightened securities to ensure law and order situations. The Haryana Police have issued a traffic advisory urging people to avoid the main roads of the state unless necessary. Section 144 has been enforced in Panchkula.
The Shambhu border (Punjab-Haryana) has been sealed, and BSF and RAF personnel have been deployed. Security has also been tightened near Tikri Border in West Delhi. “Due to the farmers’ movement, we have sealed the Shambhu border. When they (farmers) come here, we will request them not to go beyond this because they do not have permission for it. We want them to end the movement peacefully,” said DCP Arshdeep Singh.