The farmers' organisations in India are preparing to begin a fresh round of agitations. The Kisan Mukti Yatra organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee is set to be flagged off on 6 July from Mandsaur in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, where five farmers were shot dead by the police a month ago.
The Coordination Committee, a coalition of more than 150 farmers’ organisations, will carry the soil from the villages of the murdered farmers to various parts of the country as part of the campaign. The Yatra is scheduled to conclude in Delhi on 18 July.
The Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, a coalition of organisations working for land rights for the peasantry, agricultural workers, forest dwellers, Dalits and adivasis, has also extended its support to the Yatra. The Andolan has announced country-wide protests on August 9. Farmers’ rallies will be held in all districts of India on the day.
The organisers of the campaign say that the Modi government has surrendered the industrial and agricultural sectors as well as the natural resources of the country to the corporates. The country-wide campaign is intended to serve as a rallying point for protests by farmers, whose lives have been thrown into crisis. In a Press Conference in Delhi on Sunday, BAA leaders said that the agrarian crisis has been accentuated by the ‘Modani model of development’ which the Modi government has been pursuing for the benefit of the Adanis and the Ambanis.
The BAA leaders said that the BJP government of Jharkhand is continuing its attempt to amend the two important Tenancy Acts of the State which restrict the transfer of tribal land to non-tribals. Following widespread protests, the Governor of the State had refused to sign the bill amending the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, (CNT 1908) and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act (SPTA 1949). Seven adivasis were killed by the police during protests. The move to send the Bill back to the Governor would be strongly resisted, the BAA leaders said. Dharna would be held in Ranchi from 12 July onwards when the Legislative Assembly session is scheduled to begin. Country-wide protests and a March to Parliament have also been planned.
Protests are on the anvil in association with the Narmada Bachao Andolan against the move to evict 40,000 households without compensation and rehabilitation as the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam is to be raised by 17 meters. The Madhya Pradesh government has been trying to crush protests by imposing the National Security Act.
Farmers’ organisations would also visit the Prime Minister and submit a memorandum containing various demands. The demands include ensuring Minimum Support Prices that are 50 percent higher than the cost of production of crops, debt waiver for farmers, interest-free agricultural credit, withdrawal of the ordinance restricting cattle trade, and Rs 5000 pension for farmers above the age of 60.
July 7 will be observed as a Day of Protest against the lynching of people in the name of cow protection. Hannan Mollah, Ashok Choudhary, Madhuresh, Thirunavukkarasu, Vijoo Krishnan, Yogendra Yadav, Dr. Sunilam, and P. Krishnaprasad addressed the Press Conference.
Here is a timeline of some of the protests announced by farmers’ organisations and coalitions for the coming weeks:
July 6 – Kisan Mukti Yatra to begin in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh
July 7 – Day of Protest against lynching of people in the name of cow protection
July 12 – Dharna in Ranchi against amendments in CNT and SPT Acts
July 18 – Kisan Mukti Yatra to reach Delhi
August 9 – India-wide protests by Bhumi Adhikar Andolan