Protesting farmers rewarded with bullets and Rapid Action Force

Rahul Gandhi MandSaur

The killings of 14 farmers by the rapid action force and police in Madhya Pradesh has unfolded a saga of unfulfilled promises made by BJP in wining the 2014 general elections and  continuous policies by the BJP government in turning its back on upliftment of income of farmers in various states.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50 lakh to those injured  while held an emergency Cabinet to tackle  the situation in Mandsaur.

The struggle of farmers has now gained a huge momentum and BJP is now bearing the burnt of ignoring the demands of farmers who claim that even their input cost of agriculture produce cannot be met when the state governments refuse to increase MSP for their produce.Farmers’ protest started from Maharashtra where thousands of farmers have gone on strike demanding a loan waiver  and it gained momentum in Madhya Pradesh but with the killings ,the farmers agitation is set to intensify across several parts of India.

When five agitating farmers in Madhya Pradesh were killed in firing,Shivraj Singh Chouhan insisted  that it was the handy work of Congress which is instigating the farmers but later his home minister  Bhupendra Singh backtracked,admitting that the deceased farmers were killed in police firing. Singh’s U-turn on police firing  has casued the government a huge embarrassment.

It is rather strange  and also inhuman to call RAF to deal with the farmers’ protest  who are only protesting that they  should be given remurative price for the crop of onions. Even in the days of British rule, farmers were not subjected to such atrocities.

In view of the volatile situation, the Centre had rushed 1,100 personnel of RAF to the violence-hit state where the farmers have been agitating for loan waiver and better crop prices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has been turning a deaf ear to the demands by farmers as for several weeks  in March and April, Tamil farmers aired their grievances in Delhi,sitting naked to draw attention to their accute distress but in vain.

It has become a fashion for the BJP government at the centre and the state to blame Congress for everything that goes wrong with the policies of Modi government.

Madhya Pradesh’s nine districts of Malwa region are simmering  after 5 farmers died.  Indore’s Mandi is the biggest trade market of the state. The nine districts are Mandsaur, Neemach, Dhar, Khargaoun, Dewas, Indore, Ratlam, Ujjain, Badwani.

Farmers announced agitation from June 1st on 2 issues a) complete loan waiver b) cash payment. Over production of onion crop coincided with the agitation. Their procurement remained a big issue as farmers were forced to sell onions at much lower rate of Rs 1.5 while the input cost was between Rs 4-5.

Modi has been on a wrong foot in stating that agriculture produce in the country has reached to a maximum level. He should be aware of the fact the farmers cannot sit idle while prime minister is foolishly holding on to his irrational agruments.Modi failed on pre-poll promise of ensuring 50% profit over the input cost to the farmers.  Before coming to power, the BJP promised to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, but nothing has been done yet. Then  Modi promised to double the income of farmers by 2022, Shivraj Chauhan was made the head of the committee to formulate the guidelines. Both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh farmers are demanding for the fulfillment of Swaminathan Commission report. Farmer suicides are rising in various states but Shivraj Chauhan categorically said that all suicides were not because of loan problem while the farmers are unable to repay their loans.

In a face-saving exercise, Union Agriculture Minister Radha M Singh stated that central governemnet has implemented many schemes for the benefit  of farmers.

Curfew has been imposed in the trouble-hit area. Hundreds had gathered at Pipalia town as part of a 10-day demonstration for higher crop prices that cover their input costs, a loan waiver and a farm package to tide over losses incurred by drought.

The Chouhan government had sought to pacify the agitating farmers by announcing certain measures, including a loan settlement scheme for those cultivators who had defaulted on repayment of farm loan borrowed by them earlier. The scheme will cover around six lakh farmers, with accumulated dues of Rs 6000 crore, according to the government.

Even a Jat dominated INLD lost election in 2004in Haryana when farmers under the leadership of Ghasi Ram Nain protested against the anti-farmer  policies  of the Chautala government.

Moreover, Demonetization resulted in farmers getting payment of their produce through cheques that also caused delay in payments.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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