Stir against Centre’s agriculture ordinances: Haryana farmers’ unions to protest in Delhi today
Irked over the Centre’s refusal to withdraw the three farm sector Bills introduced in the Lok Sabha, Haryana farmers’ unions on forefront of the agitation have decided to protest in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Gurnam Singh Charuni has refuted reports about cracks in 17 farmers’ unions protesting under the BKU umbrella in Haryana. He claimed that not only farmers in Haryana but also various farmers’ unions of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan will descend on the national capital to hold a day-long protest near the Parliament on Wednesday.
To break the logjam, the farmers leaders, including Charuni, were invited to meet BJP MP Dharambir Singh and then Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday.
“The objective of inviting us for talks was to hoodwink the farmers. We boycotted the talks after we were told that the government will not withdraw the ordinances,” Charuni said.
Meanwhile, Haryana BJP chief Dhankar led a delegation of “farmers” along with state agriculture minister JP Dalal and three MPs to meet Tomar.
Dhankar said they submitted a memorandum to Tomar which includes eight demands/suggestions regarding the agriculture ordinances.
Dhankar had deputed three party MPs— Bhiwani-Mahendergarh MP Dharambir Singh, Kurukshetra MP Nayab Singh Saini and Hisar MP Brijendra Singh—to meet farm union leaders to allay their fears on the ordinances.
“The procurement of produce under MSP will continue. There will be no change whatsoever about the MSP and the grain markets. The ordinances have been drafted to protect the interests of the farmers,” Dhankar said.
However, Charuni said: “The farmers union leaders who met Dhankar and then Tomar are not participating in the current agitation in Haryana. How can they speak on behalf of agitating peasants?
Hours before meeting Tomar in Delhi on Tuesday, Charuni had said that farmers of the state want the Centre to give an undertaking that foodgrain procurement will continue under the minimum support price (MSP).
“We want the Centre to give an undertaking that foodgrain procurement will continue under the MSP. Let private players buy foodgrains from farmers, but it must be guaranteed that they will not be allowed to procure the produce below the MSP decided by the Centre,” Charuni said.
He, however, dismissed as an eyewash the efforts of a panel of three BJP MPs to reach out to the state’s farmers over the weekend.
“The primary objective behind setting up the three MPs’ committee was to throw dust into the eyes of agitating farmers. This panel was set up to mislead the farmers and defuse the crisis,” he said.
Farmers protest in various parts of state
Meanwhile, farmers staged protests at various places in the state on Tuesday, demanding withdrawal of the three agriculture ordinances.
Farmers associated with BKU reached the district headquarters in Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Karnal and Kaithal districts and staged the Kisan Bachao-Mandi Bachao protest from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president Kumari Selja, who was in Karnal on Tuesday, has accused the BJP government of turning a blind eye to the problems faced by farmers. Selja said the anti-farmer laws framed by the government have forced the farmers to take to the streets.
Farmers in Jind, Hisar, Bhiwani and other districts also held protests and shouted slogans against the government.
Bablu Shehrawat, Hisar district president of Bharatiya Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, said, “The government has brought these ordinances to bring corporate dominance in agriculture. The farmers will be dependent on the big corporates if these bills are passed in the Parliament. If the ordinances are not revoked, we will ban the entry of BJP-JJP leaders in villages,” he added.
Independent MLA from Meham, Balraj Kundu also addressed a press conference in Rohtak, where he trained guns at chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar for ‘not raising’ farmers’ issues before agriculture minister Narendra Tomar.
“The CM had also taken part in a meeting during which the plan on the three ordinances was discussed. However, he did not raise any objection to it. He has failed to save farmers,” Kundu said.
In Ambala, several farmers gathered outside the deputy commissioner’s office to stage a protest against the recent police action against farmers at Kurukshetra’s Pipli rally and also the farm ordinances. Similar protests were also held outside the mini secretariat in Yamunanagar.
With inputs from Sunil Rahar, Neeraj Mohan and Bhavey Nagpal