New Delhi | 16 June 2017
After the nation witnessed a protest by Tamil Nadu farmers in New Delhi earlier this year, again hundreds of farmers’ leaders from Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana and Punjab Farmers from as many as 130 farmers organizations arrived in New Delhi from all over India and joined hands under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (AIKSS) to fight against the pro corporate Modi government and demand welfare and beneficial deal and dignity for farmers. Farmers’ leader, VM Singh was unanimously appointed convenor of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti.
The meeting was attended by Swaraj Abhiyan President & Jai Kisan Andolan leader Yogendra Yadav, Tamil Nadu Farmer leader Ayyakkannu, Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan from Maharashtra, VM Singh from Uttar Pradesh, Rampal Jat from Rajasthan, Swami Agnivesh and several other farmer leaders from various states.
The farmers’ organizations discussed the distressed situation of farmer across India and took on the central government over its anti farmer policies and attitude. Farmers’ leaders said, “It was a “do or die” situation for farmers in the country”.
Swaraj Abhiyan President & Jai Kisan Andolan leader Yogendra Yadav announced the formation of an all-India coordination committee at the meeting.
Addressing the media, he said, “Despite promising to implement the recommendation of the Swaminathan Committee report, Modi ji has taken a U-turn on the issue of loan waiver and MSP. Whom is this country run for? Is this country being run for corporates or Lakhs of farmers, workers and marginalized people? Peasant rebellion has started from a village and it is spreading all over the country. We will take it to its logical conclusion”.
He announced that farmers would launch a nationwide Yatra on 6th July from Mandsaur (Madhya Pradesh) where six farmers were killed in police firing earlier this month. He said, “On completion of one month of the Mandsaur firing incident, we will start a nationwide Yatra that would conclude on 2nd October in Champaran (Bihar) where Gandhi ji started his first Satyagraha from. We will cover all states of the country. We will educate, unite and organize farmers during the Yatra”.
Focusing on immediate issues, the committee demanded complete loan waiver and increase in the Maximum Support Price (MSP) for all crops.
Ayyakkannu, the Tamil Nadu’s farmer leader who lead the unique protest with skulls of dead farmers and clay bowls at Jantar Mantar earlier this year was also present at the meeting. He said, “Despite meeting Union Finance Minister Jaitley, no decision has been taken on farmers’ loan waiver. The minister had asked for two days to consult the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on this matter. It’s been almost three months since then”. He extended his full support to the umbrella organization All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (AIKSS).
Addressing the farmers’ leaders, V M Singh said, “The Modi government is discriminating between ‘our’ farmers and ‘their’ farmers. Nothing has changed on the ground in the last three years. The plight of a farmer in Karnataka or Tamil Nadu is not different from the farmer who lives in Uttar Pradesh. Their suffering, their pain are the same. The treatment meted out to them should also be the same.”
Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan from Maharashtra said, “We have decided to expand the farmer agitation to the national level. To increase the pressure on the central government for implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report, all the farmer leaders from across the country will come together and travel in all parts of the country,”
Earlier in the day during deliberations, Swami Agnivesh expressed concern over the lack of support to farmers from urban population. He said, “Farmers are providing cheap food to urban people but urban people are not at all speaking for farmers. They are not standing up for farmers.”
He also asked farmers to protest peacefully and called for ahimsa andolan. He said, “Farmers must protest in non violent and peaceful manner. Farmers are not goons. This movement is not of goons.”
Concerned over police firing on farmers, he also said, “We must connect to sepoys serving in police and army. They are the sons of farmers. They must realize that they are firing on their own people.”
He emphasized that women farmers form a sizeable population and therefore, should not be neglected during the movement and they should also stand up.