Farmers called for “Delhi Chalo” March supported by around 500 farmer organizations
Since the introduction of new farm bills, which was later passed in the parliament and became an act in September 2020, farmers across the country, especially in Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against the controversial law. The government has been adamant in suggesting that the new bills are in the interests of the farmers.
Struggle at Delhi-Haryana and Haryana-Punjab border
Tensions mounted on Haryana-Punjab and Delhi-Haryana borders when thousands of farmers protesting against the bill gathered at various entry points to march towards New Delhi on Thursday morning. Section 144 was imposed to thwart any untoward incident. A huge contingent of police failed to deter the protesting farmers who were adamant towards going to Delhi to stage a protest.
The “Delhi Chalo” march by farmers was called by various farmers unions including Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee and various fractions of Bhartiya Kisan Union. They joined hands together and formed “Samyukta Kisan Morcha” to put their demands in front of the central government.
Farmers are demanding to quash of three new farm laws saying that new ‘draconian’ laws would lead to the end of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and there would be a corporate takeover in the agriculture field. While some fear that when they will go with their produce to the corporates, the company might say that the quality of the produce is not good, so they will give less money for the produce.
The central government has been making efforts to assure farmers that they will continue getting MSPs, they will be free from clutches of middlemen and their income would increase. The NDA government has also maintained that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) would increase in the field of agriculture.
The state government of Haryana sealed its border with Punjab to disrupt the “Delhi Chalo” march of the farmers. Haryana police were deployed in heavy numbers on the borders of Punjab. They were also deployed along Delhi’s borders. It is believed that “Delhi Chalo” march has the support of more than 500 organizations.
The best & positive part about #DelhiChalo by farmers is that they aren’t bearing any political party’s flag
— Vikram Mann ਵਿਕਰਮ ਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਮਾਨ (@VikramMann) November 25, 2020
What farmers said
Rameshar Bhagat a farmer said, “I don’t see new laws making any difference in my income in the future. It is only going to be difficult for us to sell our produce, which is already difficult.”
Another Farmer Mahesh Bhagat said, “We already do not have APMC Mandis here in Bihar which can give can right price for our produce. But the Punjab and Haryana farmers are dependent on Mandis a lot and if corporates penetrate in the agriculture sector, it is going to be very difficult for poor farmers like me to survive there.”
A crowd of farmers unable to reach Delhi protested at Shambhu inter-state border with Punjab near Haryana’s Ambala after police tried to stop them reaching towards the national capital. Some farmers reportedly attempted to remove the police barricades.
There have been continuous protests of farmers across the country since the Farm Bills were introduced in the parliament. Earlier on September 25, farmers protested outside 250 Central government offices in Kerala. The protestors had also carried out ‘Rail Roko’ protests in Amritsar. Famers had gathered at the Delhi-Noida border in UP. Some farmers were arrested in Bengaluru.
Police used water cannons and tear gas on the protesting farmers at the Delhi-Haryana border on Thursday. Imagine cold water hurled on you with immense force on a winter morning!
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, and Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and Farm Services Act were enacted in September.
Politics around the farm laws
In non-BJP ruled-states, the state governments have indicated at non-implementation of these laws. The Congress Party which calls itself the messiah of farmers, said that the party would work to not implement the farm laws. Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh had sent a memorandum to the Uttar Pradesh Governor. Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM had criticized the non-entrance of farmers in Delhi for a peaceful protest. He said that they should be allowed for a peaceful protest in a democracy. Punjab CM Captain Amrinder Singh lashed out on Haryana government for stopping farmers from moving towards Delhi, and added that brute force of Haryana government is totally unconstitutional and undemocratic. Earlier, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal leader had resigned from the Union cabinet against the legislation of farm bills.
Farmers were not allowed to enter in New Delhi because coronavirus cases are on a rise in New Delhi. The government claim that mass movement of people is likely to increase the spread of coronavirus. Now, the question is where were these same authorities when prominent leaders PM Narendra Modi, CM of Bihar Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi Prasad, Chirag Paswan were holding rallies of in front of thousands of people? Had COVID-19 died then and has suddenly arisen? Couldn’t the government had ensured protests of farmers adhering to the coronavirus measures.
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