Farmers protest started since the Parliament passed the controversial Farm Bills 2020. The farmers across the country are participating in ‘Bharat Bandh,’ wherein, Punjab and Haryana observed the most prominent protests.
The agitation of farmer grew so much that over 265 farmers’ groups affiliated with the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and above 100 non-affiliated groups took to the streets today to block roads, carry out rallies and marches.
The farmers have warned that the protest will only intensify till the bills are repealed. Opposition parties like Congress, RJD and Trinamool, along with 10 central trade unions, have voiced their support for the farmers.
PM Modi yesterday hailed the farm bills as “historic” and slammed the Opposition for misleading farmers. According to the Centre farm bills will help the farmer to sell their products at a better price and directly to consumers without intermediaries. However, farmers fear the loss of the price support system (MSP) and the entry of private players, claiming that it will put small and marginal farmers at risk.
Here are various forms of farmers Protest across India:
- Punjab and Haryana: Rice bowl of India
Massive protest broke out in Punjab and Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and in Karnataka. In Punjab, a “complete shutdown” was declared for by 31 farmers’ groups protesting under the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) banner. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh earlier said the Congress-led state government supports the farmers and no FIRs will be registered against farmers for violation of prohibitory orders.
Hope that pain of agitating farmers, who braved pandemic & heat to protest against the Agriculture Bills, will reach the Central Govt, & it will back off from destroying our farm sector with such disregard. Else, all of Punjab will be on road to Delhi. It’s a fight for survival. pic.twitter.com/4aClFtagVN
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) September 25, 2020
Meanwhile, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Akali Dal leader, who resigned as Union Minister last week, joined farmers protests in her constituency of Bathinda. The Akalis – long-time BJP allies – are said to be considering their ties with the ruling NDA. Apart from politicians, Punjabi singers and actors also joined the protests.
As angry farmers protested national highways were blocked and all non-essential traffic was shut down – the Punjab-Haryana border was sealed near Ambala – a key border crossing. The BKU lead farmers and the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India also blocked the Delhi-Amritsar highway at several places. However, several farmers refused to allow politicians to join their protest stating that political parties only consider them as vote bank.
Sarwan Singh Pandher, State Secretary of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti said on September 27, members of women’s groups will also join the farmers protest and on September 28, youth will take part in the demonstration on the occasion of Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary.
Rail Roko: Railways suspend 14 pairs of special trains
The “rail roko” protest that began in Amritsar and Ferozepur districts on Thursday enters the third day and is said to extend till September 29. On Friday Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti stated apart from the above said two districts tracks would be blocked in Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Jalalabad. The group also hit out at BJP workers for spreading “rumours” that the protesting farmers would engage in violence.
Earlier the Railway authorities had said that 14 pairs of special trains would remain suspended between September 24 and September 26. According to the officials, the decision to suspend the rail operations had been taken keeping in mind the safety of passengers and the protection of railway property from any damage.
Meanwhile, in Haryana, no significant impact was noticed in Gurugram district although farmers protested in other parts of the state. However, Asha and Anganwadi workers along with members of trade unions, extended their support to the ‘Bharat Bandh. Nonetheless, no farmers’ union appeared to oppose the agriculture bills in the district and only scattered protests and demonstrations were reported from places in and around the area.
Protest in other parts of nation:
On Friday, Farmers of Uttar Pradesh have also come out on streets leading to blocking of Ayodhya-Lucknow highway and Delhi-Meerut highway in Modinagar near Ghaziabad.
In Bihar, opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav joined the tractor rally, wherein he was seen slowly driving a tractor in main road in Patna as a large crowd of farmers, adjacent with armed police officers, march alongside.
In West Bengal, members of farmers’ groups affiliated to the Left parties and the ruling Trinamool Congress staged sporadic protests in several parts of the state with some farmer carrying agriculture produce and shouting slogans demanding withdrawal of the “anti-people” farm bills passed in Parliament.
Farmers have also blocked the Chandigarh-Delhi national highway.
The Food Providers' (Farmers) Protest in Tamilnadu. pic.twitter.com/0v2mpidqpD
— A.M.S.Diraviaraj (@ADiravia) September 25, 2020
In Karnataka, following the protest Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday afternoon met the representatives of the protesters to address the issue. However, no agreement could be reached, and the farmers have decided to go ahead with Karnataka Bandh on September 28.
Farmers hold nationwide protests against agriculture sector reform bills. pic.twitter.com/FmxfGANWIr
— Imtiaz Mahmood (@ImtiazMadmood) September 25, 2020
Despite functioning of the mandis being inefficient, opaque, politicized, often controlled by cartels, farmers hesitate to believe the Central Governments assuring regarding the bills to be farmer-friendly, as protest show the dissatisfaction of the farmhand. Meanwhile, Opposition is utilizing the opportunity as Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, while speaking against the farm bills, said farmers would be forced to become slaves of trillions through contract farming.