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India: Trouble over Farm Bills - Massive Peasant Protest at the Gates of Delhi - Select Reports and Statements | Nov 2020 - Jan 2021

7 December 2020

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India: Trouble over Farm Bills - Massive Peasant Protest at the Gates of Delhi - Select Reports and Statements & resources | Nov 2020 - Jan 2021 — An ongoing compilation on sacw.net | last update Jan 23, 2021

I REPORTS

[1] ‘Govt may eventually back down on laws’ (Dec 14, 2020) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Govt-may-eventually-back-down-on-laws/articleshow/79715064.cms
[2] Explainer: ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8 by Subodh Varma (7 Dec 2020) https://www.newsclick.in/Explainer-Bharat-Bandh-on-December-8-Farm-Laws-Farmers-Protest
[3] Farmers’ Protest: Despite Rightwing Propaganda, ’Khalistani’ Angle Finds Little Traction by Kusum Arora (The Wire, Dec 7, 2020) https://thewire.in/agriculture/farmers-protest-despite-rightwing-propaganda-khalistani-angle-finds-little-traction
[4] Farmers’ agitation: Perils of a non-consultative government by Bharat Bhushan (Dec 7, 2020) https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/farmers-agitation-perils-of-a-non-consultative-government-120120700087_1.html
[5] Farmers’ struggle for self-assertion and preserving dignity by Arun Srivastava http://mainstreamweekly.net/article10174.html
[6] Why small and marginal farmers at Delhi’s borders fear pauperisation after the new laws by Anumeha Yadav (04 Dec, 2020) https://www.newslaundry.com/2020/12/04/why-landless-and-marginal-farmers-are-the-backbone-of-farmer-protests
[7] The Farmers’ Struggle and The Agrarian Crisis by Aditya Nigam https://www.frontierweekly.com/views/dec-20/5-12-20-The%20Farmers%20Struggle.html
[8] Indian Farmers Lead Historic Strike & Protests Against Narendra Modi, Neoliberalism & Inequality (Dec 03, 2020)

[9] Scenes from a farmers’ protest camp: It’s hard to see how the Modi government can shut this down by Saba Naqvi (Dec 5) https://scroll.in/article/980336/scenes-from-a-farmers-protest-camp-its-hard-to-see-how-the-modi-government-can-shut-this-down
[10] Angry Farmers Choke India’s Capital in Giant Demonstrations by Jeffrey Gettleman, Karan Deep Singh and Hari Kumar (The New York Times Dec. 1, 2020) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/30/world/asia/india-farmers-protest.html
[11] Indian Farmers’ Protests Spread, in Challenge to Modi by Emily Schmall (The New York Times Dec. 5, 2020) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/world/asia/india-farmers-protest-pollution-coronavirus.html
[12] Farm Bills 2020: Actual text vs perception by Harish Damodaran (Sept 21, 2020) https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-bill-on-farm-trade-actual-text-vs-perception-6604053/
[13] "Indian farmers march on Delhi in protest against agriculture laws" by Hannah Ellis-Petersen (The Guardian, 30 Nov 2020) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/30/indian-farmers-march-on-delhi-in-protest-against-agriculture-laws
[14] Glaring flaws in farm laws by Pritam Singh https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/glaring-flaws-in-farm-laws-181750
[15] Farm laws 2020: Who are they meant to serve? by Kavya Datla (Down to Earth, 7 December 2020) https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/agriculture/farm-laws-2020-who-are-they-meant-to-serve--74540
[16] Did You Think the New Laws Were Only About the Farmers? by P. Sainath (The Wire, Dec 9, 2020 ) https://thewire.in/rights/farm-laws-legal-rights-constitution
[17] Video: P. Sainath On Why Farmers Are Refusing To Back Down | Faye D’Souza

[18] Farm Bills A False Experiment In The Name Of Agricultural Freedom by Navyug Gill https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/opinion-farm-bills-a-false-experiment-in-the-name-of-agricultural-freedom/362281
[19] The Agrarian Crisis in Punjab and the Making of the Anti-Farm Law Protests by Shreya Sinha https://www.theindiaforum.in/article/agrarian-crisis-punjab-and-making-anti-farm-law-protests

[20] A night at India’s largest farmers’ protest - a short video report by Neha Sharma (BBC)

II STATEMENTS

[21] Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM) statement in solidarity with protesting farmers | 7 Dec 2020

[22] In Support of the Farmers’ Movement: Statement by Vikalp Sangam Core Group on Dec. 5, 2020

[23] SAHMAT statement in solidarity with the farmers protest over the Farm Bills | 7 Dec 2020 http://www.sacw.net/article14492.html?

[24] Editors Guild of India: Media Advisory on Farmers’ Protests

The Editors Guild of India (EGI)

MEDIA ADVISORY

December 4, 2020

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) is concerned about the news coverage of the farmers’ protests in the national capital, wherein certain sections of the media have been labelling them as “Khalistanis”, “ anti-nationals”, and other such terms to delegitimise the protests without any evidence or proof. This goes against the tenets of responsible and ethical journalism. Such actions compromise the credibility of the media.

EGI advises media organizations to display fairness, objectivity, and balance in reporting the farmers’ protests, without displaying partisanship against those who are exercising their constitutional rights to express themselves. Media shouldn’t be complicit to any narrative that derogates dissent and stereotypes protestors based on their attire and ethnicity.

Seema Mustafa - President
Sanjay Kapoor - General Secretary
Anant Nath - Treasurer

[25] Statement in support of December 8 Bharat Bandh by National Alliance of People’s Movements

[7 December 2020]

Withdraw the 3 Pro-Corporate, Anti-Farmer Laws: Uphold Farmers Sovereignty Over Agriculture

Historic Farmers Resistance is a Struggle to Reclaim Democracy from Fascists

National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM) expresses its complete solidarity with ongoing farmers’ nation-wide protests and endorses the Bharat Bandh on 8th December. The call has come after several rounds of failed negotiation between the protesting farmers in Delhi and the Govt. of India, over the three Farm Acts and the Electricity Bill which together are bound to corporatize farming and makes lives of millions of farmers, especially small and marginal farmers, increasingly precarious.

Far from paying heed to the farmers’ concerns, the government has met the protestors with lathi charge, water cannons despite the cold, and trenches to stop their march. With the help of their allies in the mainstream media, politicians of the ruling party have cast aspersions on the intentions behind the protests, labelling the farmers from Punjab as ‘proponents of Khalistan and secessionists’, much like the way dissenters of all hues have been termed ‘Urban Naxals’ in an attempt to delegitimize them in the eyes of the wider public. That the vibrant protests have been thriving and surviving despite the multiple attacks of the State and fake narratives is testimony to the spirit of the farming community across India and especially the farmers from Punjab and the neighbouring states who have set-up indefinite camp in Delhi.

The agriculture sector contributes nearly 15 percent to India’s economic growth but employs about half of the country’s population. Over the last decade, the sector has witnessed a crisis of productivity, indebtedness and farmers’ suicide (501 in Punjab last year). Narendra Modi won the last elections on the promise of doubling farm income but has now promulgated a set of laws that look to strengthen corporate profits rather than farmers’ income and have in the process compromised farmers’ dignity and their rights over land and livelihood. The three contentious Acts, passed by India’s Parliament (despite questionable parliamentary processes), appear to ‘enable farmers’ to sell their produce directly to private buyers and enter into contracts with private companies. The government claims that the private sector investments will stimulate growth.

Corporate led growth has, however, led to massive corporate profits and precarity for the workers in every sector, and the farming sector is unlikely to be an exception. Pointing out this likelihood, the farmers have suggested that they were free to sell their produce to private buyers even earlier. Far from enabling them to earn profits sans meditation by middlemen, the Acts put the small farmers, who till over 86% of India’s cultivated farmland, at the mercy of big corporates. These take away the minimum support prices and fertilizer subsidies, and even the legal channels of dispute settlement through regular courts. The farmers predict an increased input burden, debts, losses and increase farm suicides and displacement from land.

Though centered in Punjab and Haryana, the ongoing protests have an all-India resonance and have received widespread participation and support from farmers groups across India as well as transport employees and other workers’ unions, civil society organisations, academics, students and ordinary citizens, who would also eventually be impacted by these laws. Solidarities have been extended out of shared concerns for farmers’ rights, India’s food sovereignty and federalism as well, since the Acts look to cut out state revenues from the mandis.

Led by farmers’ unions such as Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) (Ekta Ugrahan), BKU (Dakounda), Kirti Kisan Union, and Punjab Kisan Union, and displaying cross sectional solidarity, between farmers big and small, Jat and Dalit, as well as between different sections of Punjabi society, women and students in particular, the farmers’ movement has emerged as an important struggle within the spectrum of movements that are seeking a way out of the Hindutva/corporate matrix of power. The All India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha and the dozens of unions in Punjab and Haryana have together ensured that these Acts receive the toughest possible challenge from farmers across India.

Precisely around this time, last year, India rose up in rage against the regressive Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, with muslim women, youth and students at hundreds of protest sites across the country leading an inspiring resistance to defend the constitution, which guarantees all citizens equal rights and dignity. The farmers movement, this season, dovetails with the widespread people’s opposition to the pro-corporate, majoritarian and authoritarian rule of the current government. Each of these movements feed into the larger struggle against the fascist regime which is breaking up our democracy brick-by-brick !

The way these Farm Acts and the Electricity Amendment Bill have been introduced and imposed without consultation with State Governments, inspite of the subjects being in the concurrent lists is another example, like the New Education Policy 2020, by which the Centre is striking a blow to the Federal structure of the Constitution. It is in this context:

NAPM calls upon all sections of our society to stand with the historic struggle of farmers and participate actively in the Bharat Bandh on 8th December.

NAPM commits to intensify the struggle, along with other organizations until the core demands of repeal of the 3 Farm Acts, withdrawal of Electricity Amendment Bill and legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price to all crops are met.

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti; Rajkumar Sinha, Chutka Parmaanu Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM, Madhya Pradesh;

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information; Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); Kailash Meena NAPM Rajasthan;

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan; Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad & Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, Manorama, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti; Lingaraj Pradhan, Satya banchor, Anant, Kalyan Anand, Arun Jena, Trilochan Punji, Lakshimipriya Mohanty and Balakrishna Sand, Manas Patnaik, NAPM Odisha;

Sandeep Pandey (Socialist Party of India); Richa Singh & Rambeti (Sangatin Kisaan Mazdoor Sangathan, Sitapur); Rajeev Yadav & Masihuddin bhai (Rihai Manch, Lucknow & Azamgadh); Arundhati Dhuru & Zainab Khatun (Mahila Yuva Adhikar Manch, Lucknow), Suresh Rathaur (MNREGA Mazdoor Union, Varanasi); Arvind Murti & Altamas Ansari (Inquilabi Kamgaar Union, Mau), Jagriti Rahi (Vision Sansthan, Varanasi); Satish Singh (Sarvodayi Vikas Samiti, Varanasi); Nakul Singh Sawney (Chal Chitra Abhiyan, Muzaffarnagar); NAPM Uttar Pradesh

P. Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU, Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, Chakri (Samalochana), Balu Gadi, Bapji Juvvala, NAPM Andhra Pradesh;

Jeevan Kumar & Syed Bilal (Human Rights Forum), P. Shankar (Dalit Bahujan Front), Vissa Kiran Kumar & Kondal (Rythu Swarajya Vedika), Ravi Kanneganti (Rythu JAC), Ashalatha (MAKAAM), Krishna (Telangana Vidyavantula Vedika-TVV), M. Venkatayya (Telangana Vyavasaya Vruttidarula Union-TVVU), Meera Sanghamitra, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM Telangana;

Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union; Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere, NAPM, Nawaz, Dwiji, Nalini, Madhu Bhushan and Mamatha Yajaman, NAPM Karnataka

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai; Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation; Suthanthiran, Suthanthiran, Lenin & Arul Doss, NAPM Tamilnadu;

Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan, Prof. Kusumam Joseph, Sharath Cheloor, Vijayaraghavan Cheliya, Majeendran, Magline, NAPM, Kerala;

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti; Basant Hetamsaria, Aloka Kujur, Dr. Leo A. Singh, Afzal Anish, Sushma Biruli, Durga Nayak, Jipal Murmu, Priti Ranjan Dash, Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand;

Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Krishnakant, Parth, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti; Nita Mahadev, Mudita, Lok Samiti; Dev Desai, Mujahid Nafees, Ramesh Tadvi, Aziz Minat and Bharat Jambucha, NAPM Gujarat;

Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan sangathan; Jabar Singh, Uma, NAPM, Uttarakhand;

Manshi Asher and Himshi Singh, Himdhara, NAPM Himachal Pradesh

Eric Pinto, Abhijeet, Tania Devaiah and Francesca, NAPM Goa

Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha; Kaladas Dahariya, RELAA, Alok Shukla, Shalini Gera, NAPM Chhattisgarh;

Samar Bagchi, Amitava Mitra, Binayak Sen, Sujato Bhadro, Pradip Chatterjee, Pasarul Alam, Amitava Mitra, Tapas Das, Tahomina Mandal, Pabitra Mandal, Kazi Md. Sherif, Biswajit Basak, Ayesha Khatun, Rupak Mukherjee, Milan Das, Asit Roy, Mita Bhatta, Yasin, Matiur Rahman, Baiwajit Basa, NAPM West Bengal;

Suniti SR, Sanjay M G, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, Mukta Srivastava, Yuvraj Gatkal, Geetanjali Chavan, Bilal Khan, Jameela, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan; Chetan Salve, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Pervin Jehangir, NAPM Maharashtra;

J S Walia, NAPM Haryana; Guruwant Singh, Narbinder Singh, NAPM Punjab;

Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan; Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch; NAPM Bihar;

Rajendra Ravi, NAPM; Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan Sangharsh Vahini; Anjali Bharadwaj and Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan; Sanjeev Kumar, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch; Anita Kapoor, Delhi Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union; Sunita Rani, National Domestic Workers Union; Nanhu Prasad, National Cyclist Union; Madhuresh Kumar, Priya Pillai, Aryaman Jain, Divyansh Khurana, Evita Das; Anil TV, Delhi Solidarity Group, MJ Vijayan (PIPFPD)

[26] Statement by Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) in support Bharat Bandh of 8 December

We, the Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity, an independent union of agricultural labourers, sharecroppers, marginal farmers and plantation workers stand in solidarity with the protesting farmers in the national capital, on the recent farm bills passed by both the houses of the parliament. We extend full support to the farmer’s association(s) for enforcing the nationwide ‘bandh’ on 8th December, 2020.

As a union of people who are landless or own very little land, our members have very little marketable surplus and are therefore not immediately affected by changes in the laws. However, like urban workers, we are net purchasers of food. In the long term, these laws will ultimately lead to the roll back of the MSP, procurement, and the rationing system, from where we get cheap food grains. The changes in the Essential Commodities Act will allow hoarding and a huge rise in food prices. On the whole, the introduction of these 3 laws will hasten the corporatization of agriculture and damage our food markets irreversibly. The laws are a danger for all of us, not just farmers.
Our comrades from the farming community are braving the harsh Delhi winter and an
inconsiderate central government for eleven consecutive days to ensure that rights of the working class over our granaries are upheld. We stand firmly behind the protestors in their call to intensify non-violent protests in case the central government does not accept a complete rollback of the farm legislations. Leaders of the farmer associations deserve all the praise for not compromising on their demands even after five rounds of negotiations. The widely publicized visuals of farmers having food prepared by community kitchens in ‘Vigyan Bhawan’ during the talks show their resolve and commitment to the cause. We condemn the use of force and water cannons near the Delhi border on the protesting farmers and the efforts by certain sections of the political leadership to delegitimize the peaceful protest by linking it to separatist movements.
The central government will commit a blunder if it thinks that just by extending the period of negotiation, it will be able to engineer a divide in the united front put up by the farmers and will be able to prevent a rollback of the regressive farm legislations. Delhi is already witnessing intense scenes near its borders and farmers across North India are moving towards the national capital to extend their support to the protesting farmers from Haryana and Punjab. Hence, the central government should never make the mistake of ignoring the popular support behind our protesting farmers and accept their demands unconditionally.

The negotiations also provide an opportunity to the central government to make amends to the damage it caused to our culture of democratic decision making during the tabling of the farm legislations before both the houses of the Parliament. We had expressed serious concerns over the manner in which the bills were passed and later ratified without addressing the concerns of the opposition parties and the farmer associations. Rolling back of these pieces of legislations is the least the central government can do to honour the commitment of our farmers to the food security of the nation.

We reiterate our support to the farmer’s associations and the farmers protesting near the borders of Delhi. Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity along with Shramajivee Mahila Samity will take part in symbolic protests and organize marches and demonstrations in 11 districts of West Bengal on 8th December, 2020 to show our solidarity to call given out for enforcing a nationwide ‘bandh’.

Shri Uttam Gayen Shri Swapan Ganguly Smt Anuradha Talwar
(General Secretary) (State Committee Member) (State Committee Member)

[27] Appeal from All India Kisan Sabha (5 Dec 2020)

ALL INDIA KISAN SABHA
Ajoy Bhavan, 15, Com. Indrajit Gupta Marg (Kotla Marg), New Delhi – 110 002
Phone: Off: +91-11-23211495 / 23232801 / Fax : +91-11-23235543
E-mail: atulanjaan[at]gmail.com, allindiakisansabha[at]gmail.com,
Working President: General Secretary
Bhupinder Samber Atul Kumar Anjaan
Mob: 099142 22879 Mob: 098110 08579

05.12.2020

To

All State Councils, N. Offices Bearers, N.E. and N.C. Members of the AIKS

AIKSCC APPEALS FOR BHARAT BANDH ON DEC 8 AND MASS PROTESTS
TO ALL DEMOCRATIC, PROGRESSIVE & STRUGGLING ORGANISATIONS

This is an appeal from All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) to all democratic, progressive and struggling organisations across India including trade unions, students’ organisations, women’s organisations, teachers’ organisations, cultural organisations as well as political parties including regional.
As you are aware, lakhs of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh primarily and from other states also are on the highways leading into Delhi, resolutely and peacefully sitting on the roads until their demands are met: that of repealing the 3 Central Farm Acts, of withdrawal of the Electricity Bill 2020. Other issues too have been raised like excluding farmers from the purview of the Ordinance published for dealing with Delhi’s air pollution and declaration of MSP for all crops at C2+50%, Swaminathan formula and ensuring govt guarantee for procurement from all farmers into a legal entitlement.

Today is the tenth day of the struggle in Delhi, after months of local protests all over the country. The unfolding movement has inspired more and more farmers to join the ones in Delhi either by moving to Delhi or protesting locally.
Five rounds of talks have been held with government delegations but it is clear that the government is making this into a prestige issue and not acceding to the farmers’ legitimate demands. The government has no rationale or evidence to provide to insist on the continuation of these laws for farmers’ prices or welfare. Today, one more round of talks are scheduled with the Government of India.

Against this background, we appeal to all democratic, progressive and struggling organisations to:

* Join the protestors just outside Delhi in large numbers
* Take up local level indefinite protests, including effigy burning protests on Dec 5, to pressurise the government to agree to the demands of the farmers and also to extend solidarity with the brave, peaceful farmers in Delhi
* Organize Bharat Bandh on Dec 8.
• Issue their statements of solidarity and support to the farmers’ cause and write to the President and Prime Minister of India
• Write to the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to immediately convene a Parliament Session to fulfill the farmers’ demands.

Atul Kumar Anjaan
N. General Secretary
All India Kisan Sabha

[28] Full Text of Statement by National Trade Unions in Support of the Dec 8 Bharat Bandh

5TH December 2020

The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions reiterates support to Farmers United Struggle

Calls for Solidarity with and Active support to the Call for Bharat Bandh on 8th December

The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Independent Sectoral Federations/Associations reiterate their wholehearted support to the ongoing united struggles of the farmers demanding scrapping of draconian Agri-laws, Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 and legislation guaranteeing MSP.

The Joint Platform takes note with satisfaction that from 27th November 2020 onwards, workers and employees and their unions have been fully active in holding numerous agitations in solidarity with the ongoing farmers’ struggles, in all the states throughout the country braving arrests and intimidation from many of the state administration/police.

The Joint Platform welcomes the firm resolve and determination of the united platform of Farmers Organisations to intensify the struggles countrywide and extends all support to their call for Bharat Bandh on 8th December 2020.

The Joint Platform of CTUs and Sectoral Federations/Associations call upon the workers, employees and their unions, irrespective of affiliations, to organize active solidarity to the Farmers’ Organisations’ call for Bharat Bandh on 8th December, 2020.

INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC And Sectoral Federations/Association

[29] Full Text of Statement by Political Parties in support of Support December 8 Bharat Bandh

December 6, 2020

Press Statement

Support December 8 Bharat Bandh

We the undersigned leaders of political parties extend our solidarity with the ongoing massive struggle by the Indian farmers organised by various kisan organisations from across the country and extend our support to their call for a Bharat bandh on December 8 demanding the withdrawal of these retrograde Agri-laws and the Electricity Amendment Bill.

These new Agri-Laws passed in the Parliament in a brazen anti-democratic manner preventing a structured discussion and voting, threaten India’s food security, destroy Indian agriculture and our farmers, lay the basis for the abolishment of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and mortgage Indian agriculture and our markets to the caprices of multi-national agri-business corporates and domestic corporates.

The central government must adhere to the democratic processes and norms and meet the legitimate demands of our Kisans-Annadatas.

Sd/-

Sonia Gandhi, President, INC;
M K Stalin, President, DMK;
Sharad Pawar, President, NCP;
Tejaswi Yadav, Leader, RJD;
Farooq Abdullah, Chairman, PAGD;
Akhilesh Yadav, President, SP;
Sitaram Yechury, Gen. Secretary, CPI(M);
D Raja, Gen. Secretary, CPI;
Dipankar Bhattacharya, Gen. Secretary, CPI(ML);
Debabarata Biswas, Gen. Secretary, AIFB
Manoj Bhattacharya, Gen. Secretary, RSP.

[30] Statement from Left Parties on Nov 30, 2020 in Support of the Farmers Struggle

November 30, 2020

Press Statement

The Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Socialist Party and All India Forward Bloc have issued the following statement:

Complete Solidarity with the Ongoing Kisan Struggle

The Left parties extend their complete support to and solidarity with the huge protests by the farmers of the country. Lakhs have converged around Delhi demanding the withdrawal of the Agri laws, passed in the parliament in a brazen anti-democratic manner, and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill.

Braving intense repression and in the midst of severe cold wave conditions, lakhs of kisans have reached Delhi. However, they are not being permitted to come to Parliament, as announced earlier, to present their demands.

The Left parties call upon all their units in the country to coordinate and organise joint solidarity protest actions in multifarious forms appropriate to the concrete local situation. The calls given by the kisan organisations, agricultural labour organisations and trade unions must be supported.

The Left parties demand that the Prime Minister and the Central government accede to the demands of the protesting farmers for safeguarding Indian agriculture, our food security, remunerative returns to kisans, prevent artificial food shortages and rise in prices of essential commodities.

Sd/-

D RAJA, General Secretary, CPI
Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI (M)
Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML)
Debabrata Biswas, General Secretary, AIFB
Manoj Bhattacharya, General Secretary, RSP

[31] All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC)
Press Bulletin |Delhi, 9th December 2020

MODI GOVT. INSINCERE & ARROGANT ABOUT RESOLVING FARMERS DEMANDS; ALL FARMERS BODIES RIGHTLY REJECT OLD PROPOSALS DRESSED UP AS NEW

AIKSCC AND ALL FARMER ORGANISATIONS REITERATE THEIR DEMAND TO REPEAL 3 FARM ACTS AND EB 2020

PROTEST TO CONTINUE, MORE FARMERS TO JOIN IN, IN DELHI. DISTRICT LEVEL DHARNAS TO START IN ALL STATES

The National Working Group of AIKCC met today in the morning and took the following decisions:

  • AIKSCC joins farmers organisations in denouncing & rejecting the so-called insincere and arrogant so-called “new” proposal of Central Govt.
  • AIKSCC calls upon farmers organisations to organise continuous sit-ins in all districts and state capitals, jointly with other supporting organisations at public places
  • Bharat Bandh on 8 December has proven beyond doubt all-India footprint of the popular farmers protests; AIKSCC congratulates all sections of society for support.
  • AIKSCC notes mass participation in Bharat Bandh and calls upon all organisations and political parties to mobilise "Farmers March" in to Delhi to intensify protest.

[32] Text of Memo by Opposition Political Parties to the President of India (Dec 9, 2020)

December 9, 2020

Press Release

Due to restrictions of Covid protocol, only a five-member delegation is permitted to meet the Hon’ble President of India.

More than twenty political parties in the country have extended their support to the ongoing historic farmers’ struggles and asked for the repeal of the retrograde Agri-Laws and the Electricity Amendment Bill.

We are releasing the text of the memorandum submitted by the five-member delegation to the President of India for publication.

**

To
The Hon’ble President of India
Dear Rashtrapati ji,

More than twenty different political parties, including many parties running state governments, have extended their solidarity with the ongoing historic struggle of the Indian peasantry and extended wholehearted support to their call for a Bharat Bandh yesterday, December 8, demanding the repeal of the retrograde Agri-Laws and the Electricity Amendment Bill.

These new Agri-Laws, passed in the Parliament in an anti-democratic manner preventing a structured discussion and voting, threaten India’s food security, destroy Indian agriculture and our farmers, lay the basis for the abolishment of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and mortgage Indian agriculture and our markets to the caprices of multi-national agri-business corporates and domestic corporates.

We urge upon you, as the custodian of the Indian Constitution, to persuade “your government” not to be obdurate and accept the demands raised by India’s annadatas.

With regards,

Sd/-
Rahul Gandhi (Indian National Congress), Sharad Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party)
Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party of India (Marxist), D. Raja (Communist Party of India), T K S Elangovan (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)

[33] Solidarity Statement from Women’s organisations, NGOs

In Defence of Democracy and the Farmers’ Movement in India

[December 9, 2020]

The widespread farmers agitations against the pro-business and anti-farmer legislations passed undemocratically by the Indian Parliament in September 2020, has been met with a predictable insensitive and muted response from the government. At the meeting called by the Union Minister of Agriculture on 1 December 2020, ostensibly to break the deadlock arising out of these mass protests, the government defended the laws and offered to setup a panel to defuse and kill the protests and play politics of divide and rule. The Joint Action Committee, representing over 500 farmers organizations working across the states and at an all India level, has rightly rejected the proposal of the government to set up a committee to presumably educate the farmers, rather than address their genuine demands.

We, the undersigned organizations, stand in solidarity with the ongoing protests calling for the repeal of the two new farm laws, and the reversal of amendments to the Essential Commodities Act. We also support the demand for the withdrawal of the Electricity Bill 2020.

We are alarmed at the repressive tactics to suppress farmer’s protests across the country and the arbitrary imposition of false cases on farmer activists. We strongly condemn the brutal repression of the struggle, tear-gassing and water cannoning on the Delhi borders in the biting cold.

We believe that these laws will lead to further landlessness and destitution because the laws permit the unsparing loot by the lobby of corporate producers. The government is also under pressure from the United States and other developed market economies in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to dismantle the subsidy regime and the public procurement and public distribution systems put in place in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and many other states. The government needs to state its position on the subsidy regime and the public food distribution system. While India has taken progressive positions at the WTO to withstand the pressure of developed countries so far and argued for a ‘peace clause’ to defend its public stockholding of food, the passing of the new farm laws gives an opposite impression. The new laws are paving the way for a path capable of completely disorienting agricultural production and a shift to grain exports.

This new path will make farming communities more exposed to the uncertainties of global prices, demand and supply. Farmers of the protesting states are the backbone of the food security of the Indian people. They are reeling from persistent agrarian distress and the economic impact of the measures taken by the past and present governments. This has put agriculture-dependent families under severe indebtedness and have resulted in increased farmers suicides. The escalating price rise of essential commodities, unemployment and hunger is having serious consequences on the livelihoods of the young and old, women and children of all castes, religions and classes.

Our Demands

We stand for the withdrawal and repeal of the new farm laws. We ask the government to display its sincerity to meet the farmers’ demand of repealing the three anti-farmers, anti-people laws by immediately promulgating an ordinance to stop the implementation of these laws.

We seek the withdrawal of all cases imposed on the struggling farmers and leaders of the farmers’ organizations.

Farmers’ organizations have been consistently raising the demands of loan waivers and fixation of a minimum support price on the basis of the report of the Swaminathan Commission.

We seek the immediate grant of loan waivers for farmers, especially widows of farmers who have committed suicide and those who have taken loans from microfinance companies and SHGs.

We demand monthly income support to all vulnerable families. We demand the implementation of MNREGA and of universal social security support systems, which also includes support for health care and education of the farmers.

We call upon all progressive and democratic organizations and individuals across the country to be in solidarity with and support the farmers’ movement in their just and democratic struggle for a life with dignity. •

Issued by:

All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA)
All India Peoples’ Science Network (AIPSN)
All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)
All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangthan (AIMSS)
ANVESAN
Financial Accountability Network (India)
Forum for Trade Justice
Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
Janwadi Lekhak Sangh
Nation for Farmers
National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW)
People First
Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Right to Food Campaign
Working Group on IFIs

[34] Video: Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal on ‘unconstitutional’ farm laws (Dec 3, 2020 - newslaundry) https://youtu.be/bSmwLboZ6JE

[35] Video: EPW Webinar, Dec 22, 2020 https://www.facebook.com/pritam.singh.549436/posts/10160498479817538?__cft__[0]=AZWHs-1hIyI-PP7ds9AaUkTi39e-CbphDNjs2lw4Jbx8YSfbXoC-KYvEjzYJ9U6YOjBtulu2W8w2U_CuDYJRaKQGSCcIOUfaf1J5ZsBLAJ_luO1hQmqQnGTop_kAYuSgYr5if-85hBD0BTRXIl-9KMaU5f7-CqI-cITVUpt32llJJw&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R

[36] India’s huge farmer protests of winter 2020, explained https://youtu.be/iHpZV7ro7lU

[37] Amid rain and bitter cold, India’s protesting farmers vow not to back down by Joanna Slater (Jan 11, 2021) https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/world/2021/01/10/india-farmer-protests/

[38] Select Visuals and Posters on the Peasant / Farmer Protests against the Farm Bills of the Modi Govt in Nov Dec 2020

Temporary ’tractor trailor city’ of Protesting Farmers parked on the high way on Delhi border | Photo Indian Express Praveen Khanna Dec 5, 2020




[39] Text of Press Release Jan 11, 2021

Samyukta Kisan Morcha Press Note

New Delhi, 11 January 2021

That all the farmers organization who are spearheading the fight against the farm laws are unanimous in their decision that laws must be repealed forthwith.
Though all organisations express great respect for Hon’ble Supreme Court for it’s understanding of the problem and comforting words expressed during the hearing today.

While all organisations welcome the suggestions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court to stay the implementation of the farm laws, they are collectively and individually not willing to participate in any proceedings before a committee that may be appointed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Looking to the attitude and approach of the Govt which made it clear before the court today repeatedly that they will not agree to the discussion for repeal before the committee.

As, requested by our lawyers before the Hon’ble Supreme Court today repeatedly they had no instructions to agree for committee without consulting the organisation involved, we met our lawyers this evening at length and after deliberation on pros and cons of the suggestions of to the committee, we informed them that we are unanimously not agreeable to go before any committee. That may be appointed by Hon’ble Supreme Court today due to stubborn attitude of the government.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court was requested by our lawyers as also by other lawyers including Sh Harish Salve to fix the hearing to again tomorrow to enable them to consult the organisations and seek their consent to the suggestion of the Hon’ble court. We have been told that no such hearing has been fixed for tomorrow as per the cause list already published for tomorrow till 9pm and that only the matters are listed for pronouncements for order by the Hon’ble Court. These events have deeply disappointed us, our lawyers and also farmers at large. Therefore it has been decided to release this press statement to let the world know our stand in the matter.
Farmers and we as their representatives once again express our gratitude to the Hon’ble Supreme Court but regret our inability to accede their suggestions. Since our struggle is for the welfare of hundreds of millions of farmers across the country, and it is in larger public interest, while govt falsely propagates that agitation is confined only to farmers of Punjab, thousands of farmers from Haryana, UP, Utrakhand, Rajasthan, MP, Maharashtra and some other states are assembled on the borders of Delhi while thousands more are protesting at various places of different states at this very moment.

The delegation which consulted their lawyers include S Balvir S Rajewal, Dr Darshan Pal, S Prem S Bhangu, S Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala and S Jagmohan Singh. The team of lawyers include Sr advocate Dushyant Dave, S Prashant Bhushan, S Collin Gonsalves and S HS Phoolka.

Issued by Dr Darshan Pal
Samyukta Kisan Morcha

[40] All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC)

Press Statement | 12th January 2021

We are yet to see the Supreme Court’s order and initial reactions are based only on the reporting of the proceedings in the court hearing today.

We noted that the Court has ordered suspension of implementation of the laws temporarily. Suspending the implementation of the laws as an interim measure is welcome but is not a solution and the farmer unions have not been asking for this solution, given the fact that the implementation can be reinstated at any. The Govt. must repeal the laws and it must understand that farmers and people of India are opposed to the laws.

The Supreme Court has formed a Committee in its own wisdom and farmer unions have nothing much to say on this. Farmer unions reiterate the fact that they will not participate in any uch committee process - further, one of their apprehensions about such a process got validated in the very constitution of the committee. It is clear that the Court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the 3 Acts and have actively advocated for the same. It is not out of place to remind that the farmer unions have rejected a Committee proposal from the government too. Their dialogue is basically with an elected government about its policy directions and concomitant laws.

Farmers have explained in detail to Central Government that 3 laws will lead to corporate control over agricultural production, processing, and markets. Will lead to high cost of inputs, higher debts on peasants, lower the crop prices, increase farmer losses, decrease govt procurement, end PDS, raise food costs, higher farmer and agri worker suicides, hunger deaths, eviction from land due to debts. Govt has hidden these hard facts from people and courts.

The peaceful Kisan Parade announced by farmers organisations on Republic Day will be held at Delhi and all over the country in large numbers. Farmers will observe Republic day. The Govt. is trying to misguide the Court on this too.
The farmers’ struggle on their key demands will continue as per the earlier announcement on 13th, 18th and 23rd January.

National Working Group of AIKSCC
Media Contact: Ashutosh - 99991 50812

[41] Samyukta Kisan Morcha Press Note
57th day, 20 January 2021

The government presented a proposal before the farmers that farm laws will be suspended for a year or more time, as mutually agreed. An affidavit will be given in the Supreme Court committing to the same, the government proposed. The farmers emphasized their demand on repealing of the laws. They however agreed to discuss the proposal in their next meeting tomorrow. On the issue of MSP, the government offered the committee but the farmers rejected it. The response of the farmers will be shared in the next meeting with government on January 22nd at 12 noon.
In today’s meeting, NIA investigations and arrests were also discussed and the government gave assurance that people associated with the ongoing movement will not be harassed and intimidated using the NIA.
Today is Prakash Gurupurab of Sri Guru Govind Singh Ji. People across the world took a pledge for the success of this movement by chanting the Shabad "Deh Siva Baru Mohe" from 11 am to 1 pm.
About 26 January’s Kisan Parade, there was a meeting with the Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh Police, in which the farmers stood firm on their plan for the parade on the Outer Ring Road, while the police suggested alternative roads and even to not hold the parade. There will be a meeting about this tomorrow also.
Farmers from across the country are reaching Delhi borders in this nationwide and mass movement. Thousands of tractors from Lakhimpur and Bijnor of Uttarakhand will reach Delhi.
In many places including Riva, Gwalior, Multai in Madhya Pradesh, farmers are continuing with indefinite sit-in strike. Memorandums are being given to the administration at different places. Women’s Farmers Day was also celebrated with full energy and enthusiasm. Now farmers are going village to village and making awareness and preparing the upcoming programs. A huge tractor march was taken out in Bilwani, also.
Seeing the support received by the people in the Navnirman Sangthan’s journey from Odisha to Delhi, the Uttar Pradesh government disturbed this march and the route was also changed. In protest against this, the farmers of the yatra will observe a fast till 26 January
The mass movement is taking a wide form in Punjab and Haryana. Not only farmer-labourers but people from every section of the society are showing participation in this movement. Farmers are preparing to come on Delhi borders by performing tractor march, bike rally and small meetings in northern Rajasthan.
So far 138 farmers have been martyred in this movement. The entire leadership of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha pays homage to these martyrs. We all assure that the sacrifice of these farmers will not go in vain. We demand proper compensation to the families of the martyrs.
Kisan Jyoti Yatra under the leadership of NAPM has crossed Udaipur. Widow farmers or family members of a farmer who has committed suicide are coming from Yavatmal, Maharashtra for participation in the farmers’ movement at Delhi borders. A massive rally was organized today in Kolkata where indefinite sit-in strike is going on under the Annadatar Saath Bangla.
Farmers are agitating continuously at more than 20 places in Bihar. The government is presenting this movement by connecting it with a particular section and area. With their struggle, farmers of Bihar have also responded to the argument. In Bihar, one one side demonstrations are being held at the villages, district headquarters wherein Patna, AIPF activist also protested in large numbers.
Dr. Darshan Pal
Samyukta Kisan Morcha
9417269294

[42] Link to video of Janta Parliament - Special Kisan Session with Political Representatives - https://www.facebook.com/jansarokar2019/videos/3646978145367891/

Link to the written statement by Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, Congress Parliamentary Party, Jan 12, 2021 - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KDcvwIEA5WsKGQHQQ6toLmVMItKSpZ-Z/view? usp=sharing

[43]

Press Note: 60th Day, 23 January 2021

In conversation with police officers from Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, leaders of the Joint Kisan Morcha finalized the route to the parade jointly for the Kisan Republic Day Parade. Preparations are in swing for the disciplined conduct of the parade. Getting tremendous enthusiasm and response from farmers and citizens from all over the country.
Farmers across the country supported the call to celebrate Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birthday ′′ Azad Hind Kisan Day ′′ by the Joint Kisan Morcha. Protests and protests started at different places today.
Farmers and labourers from all over the country continue to come to Delhi. Preparations are going on at different places for the Farmer Republic Parade announced by the Morcha.
’Kisan Chalo Yatra’ from Odisha reached Gazipur border today. Nearly 1000 farmers from Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh reached the Gazipur Front on the way this March. Protest by AIARLA activists in Bhubaneswar. Farmers protested at many places including Ganjam and Balangir in Odisha. Strike was done in Gujarat by Malia Mahila Shakti Organization.
Farmer labourers marched on foot in Garhwa of Jharkhand. Local people and farmers marched till Rajbhavan in Ranchi. Farmers in Madhya Pradesh including Bhopal, Bhind, Rewa, Gwalior are continuously protesting by organizing ripe fronts.
Protests are being performed in many places in Bihar including Darbhanga, Bhojpur. Remembering Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, farmers pledged to make the farmer’s movement successful.
Thousands of farmers in Tamil Nadu marched to Raj Bhavan and made arrests. Celebrating Azad Hind Kisan Day on January 23 under the leadership of Shetkari Joint Kisan Morcha, 20,000 vehicles will be marched from Nashik to Mumbai. A group of farmers from Kota division left for Shahjahanpur border.
’Shaheed Samman Yatra’ was organized by Rashtriya Kisan Federation in Sonipat calling for participation in the Kisan Republic Parade on January 26 Hundreds of farmers of Chhattisgarh will leave for Delhi Morcha after giving a memorandum to the Governor.
Dr Darshan Pal
Joint Farmer s’ Front
9417269294

[44]

BJP’s Agrarian Agenda: Strengthening Agro-business Capitalism and Weakening Federalism by Pritam Singh

[45] Updates:

A school for the underprivileged at Indian farmers’ protest site

links to some songs sung at the peasant protest sites around Delhi:

https://youtu.be/5TYZ817-cTs

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III [46] SELECT BACKGROUND MATERIAL:

Swaminathan Report: National Commission on Farmers (2006)

More than half farm-households in India are in debt: NSSO report by Jitendra https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/more-than-half--farmhouseholds-in-india-are-in-debt-nsso-report-47924

Shanta Kumar Committee Report of 2015 https://fci.gov.in/app2/webroot/upload/News/Report%20of%20the%20High%20Level%20Committee%20on%20Reorienting%20the%20Role%20and%20Restructuring%20of%20FCI_English.pdf

Credit for Agricultural Households in India: Growing Inequities by Ashutosh Kumar Tripathi in: Journal of Asian and African Studies, Volume: 52 issue: 6, page(s): 807-823 (Sept 2017) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0021909615618983

Report of the Expert Group on Agricultural Indebtedness - Ministry of Finance, Government of India July 2007 http://www.igidr.ac.in/pdf/publication/PP-059.pdf

Farmer protests: Highway traffic blocked in Haryana, Rajasthan and various states
(Hindustan Times: Jun 16, 2017) https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/farmer-protests-highway-traffic-blocked-in-haryana-rajasthan-and-various-states/story-GcOsaR8C4InWBxsFW8qHrK.html

The Farmers’ Movement and Agrarian Change in the Green Revolution Belt of North‐West India’ by Sucha Singh Gill, ‘ Journal of Peasant Studies 21 (3–4): 195–211. (1994)