Farmer bodies gear up for ‘Bandh’ on Friday

Farmers Protests Kurukshetra
Farmers Protests Kurukshetra

New Delhi, Sep 24 : Over two dozen farmer organisations have announced support to the ‘Bandh call on Friday to protest against the farm Bills passed by Parliament amid massive protests from 18 political parties.

The 31 farmer organisations in Punjab and Haryana are already on protest and come Friday the organisations want to convey their concerns to the government.

V.M. Singh, convener of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, who is from central UP, said “There will be nationwide unrest if MSP is not guaranteed and the food security of the poor is handed over to multinationals and corporates,” he said while appealing to President Ram Nath Kovind not to give assent to these Bills.

The same demand has been raised by 18 parties who met the President on Wednesday and requested him to return the Bills for reconsideration of the House.

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Avik Saha of Jai Kisan Andolan said, “We have been trying to engage democratically with the government. After the ordinances were issued, hundreds and thousands of letters have been sent to the Prime Minister. But even in Parliament, this government has refused listen”.

Farmers’ unions have requested farmers to come out in open to oppose the legislations as Bharatiya Kisan Union said “On September 25 there will be farmers’ curfew, blockade and till purchase of produce as per MSP is guaranteed in the law the agitation will go on.”

Rakesh Tikait of the BKU has appealed its members to come out in large numbers.

Farmers unions in Punjab are claiming that it is due to their pressure that Akali leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned as a minister from the Cabinet but the real success will be when the law is repealed. The most vociferous protests are in Haryana and Punjab.

The farmers’ unions say that the problem with the Bills goes beyond MSP to the whole issue of phasing out the ‘mandis’ as farmers are far more vulnerable to exploitation outside the ‘mandi’ system and they are producers, not agri-businesses.

Hannan Mollah , of All India Kisan Sabha, an affiliate of the Left parties, said, “How can a small farmer negotiate a fair deal with the big corporates?”

The farmers have received support from 18 parties including the Congress which has governments in four states, TMC in West Bengal, Left in Kerala, AAP in Delhi, TRS in Telangana while the BJD has also demanded the Bills be sent to a select committee.

The farmers are opposing the Bills passed by the government as the Upper House gave the nod to the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

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