Two Years Of Agitation: Farmer Unions Set To March TodayNov 26, 2022 | Pratirodh Bureau
Farmer unions will take out marches to Raj Bhavans across the country on Saturday to mark two years since they launched their agitation against the now-repealed three farm laws.
The farmer leaders have alleged that the Union government has no intention of fulfilling their promises and that there is need for a bigger agitation. The marches will also register the farmers’ protest against “non-fulfilment of various promises by the government”.
Farmer leaders claim that the government had given them in writing that it would hold a discussion and bring a law for minimum support price (MSP) of crops, but nothing has been done so far.
Thousands of farmers, particularly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, protested at the borders of Delhi for over a year, demanding the repeal of the contentious farm laws. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced repealing of the three laws last November. The protest was called off subsequently.
“They gave us in writing and agreed to many of our demands, but nothing has been done,” Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) leader Hannan Mollah told PTI over phone on Friday.
“The government has proved it is a traitor who has cheated the farmers. They are protecting the corporates. They have proved they have no intention of fulfilling our demands,” said Mollah, who is in Lucknow to attend the protest march.
The SKM, a body of farmers’ unions that spearheaded the agitation against the farm laws, has also called a meeting on December 8 to decide the future course of the movement.
Meanwhile in late August this year, more than eight months since their year-long protest at Delhi’s borders ended, farmers from various states gathered in the national capital in large numbers to take part in a ‘mahapanchayat’. During the daylong ‘mahapanchayat’ organised by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) at Jantar Mantar, the farmers carrying the flags of their unions raised slogans against the BJP-led Centre for “not fulfilling” its promises.
They also demanded the arrest of Union minister Ajay Mishra, who they said was responsible for the “massacre of farmers” in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh.
Later, the farmers submitted a memorandum containing their six-point demands to President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “In the ‘mahapanchayat’, we deliberated on our nine-point demand letter. This included a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops and the cancellation of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 among others,” said Abhimanyu Singh Kohar, an SKM (NP) member and one of the organisers of the ‘mahapanchayat’.
In their memorandum, the farmers said a law guaranteeing the MSP on crops should be passed in Parliament, the government should write off farm loans to prevent farmer suicides and should consult farmers on the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 before passing it. The memorandum also said the Centre should terminate the free-trade agreements that have been signed and stop the free-trade agreement negotiations as many of these pacts have a serious impact on agriculture.
Apart from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, farmers from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha and Kerala, among other states, arrived in Delhi to take part in the ‘mahapanchayat’. Many of them came with their bags packed and with an intent to stay put. Carrying flags and wearing caps given by farmer leaders, they were seen sitting in and around Janpath. They raised slogans for farmer unity and against the Centre for “not fulfilling” its promises.