Farmers plan fresh protest near Parliament to mark one year of agitation

  • Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organisation of farm unions, says that starting November 29, 500 farmers will move to the Parliament every day to assert their rights to protest.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been campaigning against the three laws enacted in September 2020 to liberalise domestic agricultural trade.(HT_PRINT)
Tens of thousands of farmers have been campaigning against the three laws enacted in September 2020 to liberalise domestic agricultural trade.(HT_PRINT)
Updated on Nov 10, 2021 06:30 AM IST
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By, , Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Farm unions will mark a year of their agitation against three agricultural laws passed by the Modi government on November 26 by converging on the national capital’s borders in large numbers, and holding demonstrations near Parliament for the entire duration of the forthcoming winter session beginning November 29, their leaders announced on Tuesday.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organisation of farm unions, said it has decided to escalate protests across the country from November 26, which is a “historic” occasion. On November 28, they will organise a rally at Mumbai’s at Azad Maidan, the platform said.

Tens of thousands of farmers are campaigning against the three laws enacted in September 2020 to liberalise domestic agricultural trade. Farm unions, largely from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, have been holding protests at five sites near Delhi’s borders: Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Dhansa and Shahjahanpur (on the Rajasthan-Haryana border).

On November 26, farmers from across northern states will troop into these sites, a farm leader said. “The day is also Constitution Day, when the Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in 1949. November 26 also marks one year of the all India strike by the working class last year,” a statement by the farm unions said.

“The SKM has decided that on and from November 29 until the end of this Parliament session, 500 selected farmer volunteers will move every day to Parliament in tractor trollies peacefully and with full discipline, to assert their rights to protest in the national capital,” it added.

Farmers say the new laws — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act — will leave them at the mercy of big corporations who could dictate prices and wean them off state support.

The government has argued the changes will not alter an existing state-backed system to give assured prices but would free up farm trade, boost investments and raise incomes.

The laws aim to ease restrictions on trade in farm produce by setting up free markets, which will coexist with regulated markets, allow food traders to stockpile large stocks of food for future sales, and lay down a national framework for contract farming based on written agreements.

On January 26, a planned Republic Day celebration by farmers who took out a tractor march in Delhi went awry when protestors turned violent and stormed Red Fort, a monument.

During one of the protests on October 2, a convoy of vehicles belonging to Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra Teni, allegedly ploughed through protesters in Lakhimpur, killing four farmers, and triggering violence that killed four other people. The minister’s son was later arrested.

On January 13 this year, the Supreme Court temporarily suspended the three laws and formed a panel of experts to examine them. The panel has submitted its report to the court, which it is yet to take up.

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Saturday, June 25, 2022