Thousands of farmers courted arrest today all across the country, as per call of the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan. The Jail Bharo call was given to organize campaigns against the anti farmer policies of the BJP government.
Bhumi Adhikar Andolan [BAA] has played a decisive role in mobilizing the peasantry on concrete issues. The Modi government got its first jolt when BAA succeeded to force the Government to freeze the most anti farmer, pro-corporate Land Acquisition Bill with the help of political parties.
After demonetization and the resultant crash of market price of all crops, and the recent Government order banning cattle trade for slaughter has deeply affected the small and poor peasants who own 50% of the cattle wealth. The unrest is widening among all sections - peasants, workers, Dalits, Adivasis, minorities, women and the youth. Peasant suicides are being reported extensively now and this trend is escalating. BAA observed that the agrarian crisis will be intensified in the near future if the Central Government does not change the anti-farmer policies.
The All India Kisan Sabha supported the seven point demands of BAA; that the Central Government and all State Governments must enact law to ensure remunerative price of 50% above cost of production to all crops, guarantee purchase centers as recommended by National Farmers’ Commission chaired by MS Swaminathan and promote peasant cooperatives for large scale modern agro-processing and marketing networks. It also demanded comprehensive loan waiver to the peasantry covering institutional as well as private, institutional credit for agriculture to cover all peasant households and measures on a war-footing to stop peasant suicides.
The other demands are –
· Immediately withdraw the anti-farmer notification of the Central Government banning cattle trade in the cattle market. Ensure strict legal action against the communal elements unleashing violence and mob lynching especially against Muslims and Dalits in the name of ‘cow protection’.
· Withdraw formally the land acquisition bill from the Parliament and stop all unlawful displacement and eviction.
· Strict implementation of Forest Rights Act within a stipulated time frame of one year.
· Comprehensive implementation of MNREGA linking with agriculture and ensure minimum wage to all rural workers.
· Ensure monthly pension of Rs 5000 at the age of 60 to all agricultural workers and small and marginal peasants holding up to 2 hectares of land.