Farm unions scale up efforts to get youth, women into their fold
Sangrur The district chapter of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) formed women’s wings in eight villages of Bhawanigarh block of the district recently. The development came as part of a plan to oppose the three new agricultural ordinances that the Centre has passed. Other farmer outfits, mostly seen as armies of old men, are also working to ‘recruit’ youth and women into their fold.
BKU leaders claim that the ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the government will affect the lives of women and the young. “In 2018, we decided to focus on increasing the participation of women and youth in unions. Now, we need to organise our youth and women. This is the need of the hour, as we combat these ordinances,” said Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, state general secretary of BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan).
Kokri Kalan added that the anti-farmer policies of successive governments had meant that youth and women were already against the government. It was up to the farmer leadership to channelise this energy, he claimed.
“These ordinances will damage the farm economy and women have to suffer more. We are getting a huge response and women are joining the battle against anti-farmer policies,” he added.
Harinder Bindu, 42, state leader of women’s wing of BKU Ugharan, said they already had a women’s wing in Sangrur, Bathinda, Mansa and Barnala districts.
“The Modi government passed three ordinances under the shadow of covid-19. Women protested from August 25-29. Our women activists also protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the NRC (National Register of Citizens) and the National Population Register (NPR) in Malerkotla,” she added. “Women are the most oppressed section, and farm debt and patriarchy impact them the most. We are getting organised in Malwa,” she added.
Kirti Kissan Union, another farmer outfit, recently formed youth wings in Sangrur, Moga, Ludhiana and Muktsar districts. Union activists are holding meetings with youth for the Barnala rally scheduled on September 14, the first day of the new Parliament session, to oppose the agri-ordinances
“We have formed five units of youth in Sangrur district. They wanted freedom, when elders were leading the movement. We will form units in other districts by September 28,”said Bhupinder Longowal, 35, state leader, Kirti Kissan Union.
“Youth must not waste time and energy in gathering votes for political parties. Agriculture is our profession and we will not allow the government to snatch it from us,” added Longowal.