Eastern Times, New Delhi: Several leaders of farmer unions of Punjab Sunday met with State Government’s Cooperatives Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and senior officials in Chandigarh. This was to find a resolution to the sugarcane farmers’ protest launched on August 20th at Jalandhar for increase in sugarcane price for farmers and immediate payment of pending dues.
However, the meeting did not result in any concrete outcomes. The farmer leaders were assured by the Punjab government delegation that research experts would have a consultation with farmers tomorrow on the cost of production details related to sugarcane production in Punjab, and that based on information obtained in such a consultation, the Chief Minister will take a decision on the matter the day after tomorrow. Against this backdrop, the agitating farmers have decided to continue with their indefinite struggle for getting sugarcane SAP hikes, and payment of arrears due to farmers. The occupation of the highway and the railway line will continue by the protesting farmers.
In its press releases, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has been exposing the lies of the Prime Minister, and his false claims again and again, whether it is related to MSP, or Doubling Farmers’ Incomes, or PMFBY, or AIF. SKM would also like to remind PM Modi of his Parliament speech on 10th February 2021. This is so that his fallacious arguments can be showcased in front of the nation, and so that he can made accountable to his own statements in the Parliament.
He had wrongly argued that the new laws were optional for farmers. He also tried to counter the protesting farmers who have been saying that they never asked for these laws in the first instance – he gave examples of many progressive legislations which were enacted by the Indian Parliament to say that governments brought these as a sense of responsibility.
What Mr Modi probably does not know or does not want to acknowledge is that progressive legislations to secure women’s rights came about because of a strong, vibrant and progressive women’s rights movement in India that struggled for such legal protection, whether it was anti-dowry, or anti-child marriage, or anti-sati, or for equal property rights.
Mr Modi’s conflation of social reforms with “economic reforms” is also deeply faulty and it is important that the key difference between both is understood well by him. Importantly, we would like to remind him of his own statements on that day in the Parliament – “It cannot be democracy if people are compelled to demand (their rights)”; “Governments have to be sensitive”; “Governments have to step forward and be responsible towards citizens’ well-being, that too through democratic means”; “Governments have to proceed by providing rights and entitlements to citizens”, and so on. Mr Modi in his speech also said that “the country’s youth cannot wait for too long”. Precisely.
SKM would like to remind PM Modi of all these statements and how apt they are with regard to the current and continuing stalemate game that the government is playing with protesting farmers. It is high time that he remember his own statements, and fulfill the demands of the farmers’ movement.
Raksha Bandhan is a tradition widely followed in many parts of the country. As part of the tradition, it is known that our soldiers at the borders receive Raakhis on this day, even if sisters of soldiers cannot reach the Borders themselves. Following a similar tradition, many rural women of Punjab and Haryana have sent Raakhis to the Kisans at the Delhi Borders today. Support and encouragement to the ongoing struggle was expressed in this manner from several villages of these states.
BJP leaders are facing local protests in many different states and locations. South Delhi Parliamentarian Ramesh Bidhuri’s vehicle was spotted yesterday by farmers at the Rajasthan-Haryana Border at Shahjahanpur and a black flag protest immediately emerged. Police had to intervene to get the vehicle onto another route, to escape from the peaceful protest.
In Roorkee in Uttarakhand, a BJP meeting had to face a black flag protest from local farmers. In Hisar in Haryana, farmer unions have issued an ultimatum to BJP MLA Jogi Ram Sihag for his misbehaviour against a protestor, and have demanded an apology from the MLA. Farmers have warned that their protest will be intensified against him, if such an apology is not offered by the BJP leader.
In Chandigarh, the Police are reported to have registered a case against BJP leaders and workers who misbehaved with a woman protestor who was protesting against Union Minister Anurag Thakur.
In Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand, khaps are stepping forward to lend their support to the September 5th Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar. Farmer leaders associated with SKM are also holding many meetings in different districts to mobilise farmers to Muzaffarnagar on that day.
SKM will have teams going back to all parts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand after this event, as part of Mission UP and Uttarakhand, to explain to the public about the anti-farmer policies and perspectives of the BJP and Modi government.
Medical camps being run free of cost for protesting farmers as well as local citizens in and around Singhu Border are continuing. Sunday, doctors who have been providing selfless service in these camps have been felicitated at Singhu Border kisan andolan office.