Bengaluru: Women’s Organisations come in Solidarity with Farmers Protests

Passage of black laws during a time when people and their livelihoods are already under attack is a further assault on our lives.

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Contrary to mainstream news, protests against the black farm laws are happening all over India. In Karnataka, from 16th December onwards, protests are happening by Karnataka farmers along with various allied organisations.

From 20th December onwards, a new wave of protests started with many progressive organisations came forward in solidarity with the cause of farmers. It started with student organisations and people’s organisations protesting at Maurya circle in Bangalore on 20th and 21st December.

Today many left and progressive women organisations came forward in solidarity with farmers. Hundreds of women from different walks of life came together today at Maurya circle.

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Several women organisations came together to protest against the farm laws

Women from the garment workers association, domestic workers union, and BBMP Safai Karamcharis, students, and lecturers were present to extend their solidarity to the farmer’s agitation in cold chilly Delhi weather. Protestors have planned to keep the protests going until the farmers receive justice. A 15 member leadership team from various organizations that are part of the United Struggle Forum will be arriving at farmer’s protest zones outside Delhi on 25th December.

The protests were also attended by eminent personalities like the Kannada poet K.Sharifa, Former President of the Books Authority of Karnataka (Karnataka Pustaka Pradhikara)- Dr. Vasundhara Bhupathi, and senior activists like Ruth Manorama and Anasuyamma.

Women in the same boat as Farmers

Gauri Lankesh news spoke to many of the women leaders and intellectuals present at the protest site.

Mallige Sirimane of Mahila Munnade and Karnataka Janshakthi said-  “Women have been sailing in the same boat as farmers,” She said while drawing parallels in terms of how both groups have been losing their rights, social security, and land in this Pandemic.

Most domestic workers found themselves out of a job, garment factories and small scale industries also found themselves out of business with no way to sustain themselves, especially after the stress of the demonetization and GST introduction.

The Indian Government has withdrawn from its promises and constitutional obligations towards the people of India. Today there is no other way left for the working, downtrodden martyrs of this country, except for coming together, uniting, and fighting against anti-people policies,”.

Related read: How COVID-19 Crisis pushed women further to the margins

Women farmers and wives of male farmers have been suffering the most. Due to the increase in farmer suicides, wives have been left in the dark with no way to fend for themselves. They have no access to resources, no rights over land. “Today’s Protest was organized to give voice to all these issues of women, while also standing in support of farmers,” She said.

Food security and Food sovereignty is everyone’s issue!

KS Vimala of Janwadi Mahila Sangathan(AIDWA-Karnataka) spoke to our team on the need to break through the BJP’s false propaganda. She says, many people from Karnataka are at Singhu border near Delhi, it is false propaganda that it is only punjab and Haryana farmers protests. From Nasik, Maharashtra also farmers are leaving to join Delhi protests. The more Modi-Shah combine want to scuttle the struggle, the more its being strengthened.

“BJP and RSS bandwagon’s wrong policies not just in agriculture but in all sectors are doing so much harm to this country. It is evident that they want to finish India in one stroke. They want to dismantle the judiciary. With these laws, even if farmers have some issue they can’t even go to court.. it is not just farmer’s struggle..it is the struggle of every individual. Without food, nobody can live. Food security and Food sovereignty is everyone’s issue.

It’s not just solidarity, Women are an equal part of the farming community

Farm laws are a death blow to the whole country. Women are equal part of this farming community. it is not only solidarity they are part of this movement.

“The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 once comes to force, women will be the first victim of it. The act is aimed at deregulating commodities such as cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onions, and potatoes. Already Indian women are anaemic and malnourished, once these items are also removed from the essential commodities list, it will further squeeze women’s stomach. Already Public distribution system (PDS) is weak, health sector is weak, if you take away some basic protein-rich commodities and not control its regulation, how will we ensure a healthy country,”- says Shobha of All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan.

“Everybody needs nutritious food. In half a year already double the number of malnourished children were recorded in Karnataka due to closure of Anganwadis. If these laws come togehter along with electricity bill, BBMP cess collection, subsidies being taken away, how long will we remain silent. That is why the farming community is up in arms!”

There should be more awareness about these farm acts

We are carrying out discussions and awareness programmes on farm act, street corner meetings in villages of Karnataka. Even many people do not know about the farm laws but they see farmers are protesting for 27 days, why is it so? So they know there is problem with the acts. Once it is explained in depth to them about the consequences of the acts, they say- We should burn these acts!

The programme was attended by members of several allied organisations namely- All India democratic women’s association (AIDWA), All India progressive women association (AIPWA), All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan (AIMSS), Gamana Mahila Sangathan, M G Venkatesh from Samudaya cultural organisation,  K Surender Rao, Mahantesh from Hamali Workers federation, Lingaraju from Construction workers federation, AICCTU, Gopal Gowda from CITU.

 

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