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Bihar: People killing thousands of frogs to appease rain gods

Farmers in drought-prone Magadh region comprising five districts — Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nawada and Arwal — in southern Bihar, are killing thousands of frogs to appease the rain Gods.

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Frogs
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Patna, July 19: Blind faith and superstition have taken over parts of Bihar as people sacrifice thousands of frogs to appease rain Gods in the state that has seen a 42 per cent deficit in rainfall this monsoon.

Farmers in drought-prone Magadh region comprising five districts — Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nawada and Arwal — in southern Bihar, are killing thousands of frogs to appease the rain Gods.

A group of farmers in Chiriyawan village under Atari block in Gaya crushed to death dozens of frogs to follow a ritual called “Beng Kutni”(crushing frogs). Similar rituals were also taking place at other villages.

With the Met predicting the dry spell to continue, farmers are worried and frustrated. They have turned to Gods. Most of them are praying, some have even giving in to old blind faith and superstition.

Baliram Singh, a villager of Chiriyawan said as per an age-old ritual, a group of women are supposed to dig a makeshift water body and fill it up with water brought from all the wells in the village. Then they are to catch dozens of live frogs from nearby bush and wetland and put them in the freshly dug water body and then hit them with bomboo sticks.

Taking the ritual further, they then prepare a garland of dead frogs and put it on a man from the village. The man in his turn has to hurl abuse. More the abuse more chances of rain.

This practice is also prevalent in East and West Champaran districts bordering Nepal. The farmers in Mithilanchal region comprising Darbhanga, Madhubani and Sitamarhi districts are also praying and performing different rituals for rains.

Mahender Yadav, who has been working with small and marginal farmers in the flood prone Koshi region of Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura districts, said farmers even wed the frogs.

Of Bihar’s 37 districts, 22 have received 60 per cent less rainfall. Only six districts recorded normal rainfall. There are high deficits of 87 per cent in Vaishali, 82 per cent in Bhojpur and 72 per cent in Arwal.

Contrary to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast of near normal monsoon rains in 2018 in Bihar, the state has so far recorded a deficit of nearly 42 per cent in rainfall.

It has received 203.2 mm of rainfall as against the normal average of 353.2 mm between June 1 to July 16, said Met official Sandip Kumar.

There is widespread fear of drought-like situation among millions of farmers who have faced similar situation thrice in the last seven years.

Poor monsoon has affected paddy farming which is in its peak season. Cultivation of paddy crop is water intensive.

Monsoon normally hits the state between June 12 and 14. But it was delayed by 12 to 14 days in 2018.

IANS

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Another earthquake jolts Jammu and Kashmir

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Earthquake Strong

An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter Scale jolted Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. According to the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), the tremors were felt at 12:02 pm today.

The epicentre of the earthquake was yet not known.

There were no immediate reports of any loss of life or damage to property due to the earthquake.

More to follow…

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UP farmers join nationwide bandh over 3 farm bills in a big way

BKU state president Rajveer Singh Jadaun claimed Friday’s ‘chakka jam’ was completely successful with wide support from traders and the public. He regretted that police tried to sabotage the peaceful agitation at some places.

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Kisan Tractor Rally
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New Delhi: Farmers in Uttar Pradesh, like their counterparts in Punjab, Haryana and other parts of the country, on Friday took to the streets in protest against the contentious farm bills passed by Parliament recently.

Friday’s was the first major protest in UP, unlike Punjab and Haryana that have been on the boil since the bills cleared the Parliament hurdle.

Responding to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by various farmers’ bodies and supported by opposition parties, the farmers blocked state and national highways, organised tractor rallies and held demonstrations disrupting traffic for three-four hours in several districts of the state with police having a tough time dealing with protesters.

There were reports of clashes between police and protesters in some districts, including Shrawasti and Kannauj.

The opposition parties, who lent their support to the farmers by joining the cause in various districts, included Samajwadi Party, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and left parties.

With Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), a farmers’ organisation with a strong presence in several states of north India, being in the forefront, the impact was most visible in the Jat-dominant western UP districts that were on high alert with heavy police deployment.

BKU state president Rajveer Singh Jadaun claimed Friday’s ‘chakka jam’ was completely successful with wide support from traders and the public. He regretted that police tried to sabotage the peaceful agitation at some places.

“Ours was a totally peaceful agitation and we ensured no emergency services, like movement of ambulances, were disrupted but some policemen, who wanted to spoil the state government’s image, unnecessarily misbehaved with and lathi-charged our people at some places,” he alleged.

Reports of protests started trickling in right from the morning, with a group of Lucknow-bound farmers blocking the Lucknow-Ayodhya highway in Barabanki and burning crop waste on the road in protest. The farmers intensified the agitation as the day advanced. The protests lasted till about 3 pm.

In Lucknow, farmers protested at the Shahid Path crossing as well as in Bakshi Ka Talab while other groups demonstrated on the highway near Akbarpur Mati in Kanpur Dehat and blocked the national highway in Gursahaigunj in Kannauj.

In western UP, farmers blocked the Delhi-Noida highway, NH 58 in Muzafarnagar, Delhi-Saharanpur highway in Saharabpur, Meerut-Karnal highway in Shamli, Delhi-Pauri highway and Falauda road that connects Delhi to Haridwar and Dehardun etc. At some places, farmers were seen riding tractors with loudspeakers blaring patriotic songs while at others they were seen cooking food sitting on the road itself. In many cases, they parked their tractors on the roads to cause a blockade.

Reports of similar road blockades came from Mahoba and Jalaun in Bundelkhand too.

SP members joined the protests in various districts, including Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Agra. They submitted memorandums for the governor through the district administration demanding that the Centre withdraw the ‘anti-farmer’ bills.

Congress workers took out a march in Varanasi, while AAP members and Allahabad University students staged protests separately in Prayagraj.

CONTENTIOUS BILLS

Farmers have strong reservations over some provisions of the three Bills— the Farmers’ Produce and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill — all passed by Parliament recently.

“The three proposed laws, if enacted without suitable amendments, will be a sure recipe for disaster of small farmers,” Jadaun said. “We have three specific demands. First, it should insert clauses in the new Bills, stating that the minimum support price (MSP) system will continue. Second, maximum stockholding limit for traders will not be done away with and third, mandi fee will be abolished for all agri products sold and purchased within the mandi yards,” Jadaun stressed.

He said BKU’s national executive will hold its meeting in a day or two to take a call on further course of action.

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Thousands of farmers across Maha protest agriculture bills

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers’ leaders addressed small rallies of protesters and explained the contentious issues in the revised farm laws which could be detrimental to the agro-communities and consumers while benefitting corporate houses.

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Maharastra Farmers Protest
Maharashtra Farmers Protests (File Picture)

Mumbai, Sep 25 : Thousands of slogan-shouting, and banner/poster-carrying farmers took to the streets all over Maharashtra on Friday to protest against “the anti-farmers” law recently passed by the Parliament and vowed to fight them with all vigour.

The agitation has been supported by the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the All India Kisan Sabha, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, major farmers’ organisations, various national and state level trade unions and student unions.

Spearheaded by AIKS President Ashok Dhawale from Palghar, in Mumbai, the protests were led by Mahendra Ugade, by Sunil Kharpat in Thane, by Subhash Dake in Beed, by Govind Ardad in Jalna, by Sudam Thakre in Nandurbar, and by Arjun Ade in Nanded.

In Kolhapur, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana President Raju Shetti urged farmers in the state and all over the country to protest the laws with full vigour, and led an agitation in which a bonfire was made of the copies of the law.

“These laws are detrimental to the very survival of the farming community. The government has pushed through these laws undemocratically and it was a black day when it was passed in Parliament. We will not tolerate the injustice meted out to the farmers,” he said.

State SSS President Sandeep Jagtap led farmers in Nashik where they protested by burning an effigy of the centre and shouted slogans condemning the government.

Similar protests were carried out in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Pune, Kolhapur, Nashik, Nandurbar, Jalna, Beed, Aurangabad, Nanded, Yavatmal, Buldhana with thousands of farmers taking part in the agitation and marching to offices of the local Collectors or tehsildars.

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers’ leaders addressed small rallies of protesters and explained the contentious issues in the revised farm laws which could be detrimental to the agro-communities and consumers while benefitting corporate houses.

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