On Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s call, in different locations of the country, farmers gheraoed Food Corporation of India (FCI)’s offices and godowns on a day marked as “FCI Bachao Diwas”. From these various locations, memoranda addressed to the Union Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs were sent.
In Andhra Pradesh, there were protests in Vijayawada and Ongole on this occasion. In Haryana, places like Kaithal, Gurgaon, Rohtak, Fatehabad, Sonepat, Ambala, Karnal, Badowal Chowk etc. saw these protests happening with thousands of farmers participating in the same. Noida’s FCI office was also gheraoed by farmers today. In Uttar Pradesh, in Atrauli of Aligarh, in Ayodhya, Allahabad Jasra Block and in other places, such protests were organised. In Sitamarhi of Bihar too, farmers joined the protest at the FCI godown there in large numbers.
In Rajasthan, protests took place in places like Shriganganagar, Nagaur and Sawai Madhopur. Punjab witnessed many protests too – in Bhawanigarh, Sunam, Barnala, Sangrur, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Mansa and Amritsar are few of the more than 60 places where the protests were organised. Here, farmers protested against the new guidelines and quality parameters that the Centre is trying to force onto the state, in a direct attack on the farmers of Punjab.
While the Punjab farmers are grappling with some changes that the Centre is proposing in the procurement regime in the state from the ongoing wheat procurement season itself that will go against the interests of farmers, farmers in the country are cognisant of the bad fiscal health that FCI has been forced into without adequate budgetary allocations from the Centre. Samyukt Kisan Morcha and the protesting farmers are also deeply aware of the crisis that India has landed its consumers and producers in, by its commitments within the rigged framework of the World Trade Organisation and its Agreement on Agriculture in this context.
The tentative space negotiated by the government with a peace clause is not adequate without a clear assertion of the country’s right to food sovereignty, food and nutrition security, asserted SKM. India’s food stockpiling program has been drawn into a WTO dispute without a permanent solution in sight given that the World Trade Organisation has been explicitly created as a regime that is against the interest of common citizens, and one that facilitates profiteering by agri-business corporations.
SKM clearly recognises the three central farm laws as an intention of the government to dismantle India’s PDS regime, rather than improving and expanding the same. That is why protesting farmers are demanding for a repeal of the three laws and a statutory guarantee to MSP as a legal entitlement of all farmers.
Today, at the Ghazipur protest site, a booklet was released in the presence of Allahabad High Court lawyers, and the lawyers were urged to spread awareness on the anti-citizen aspects of the 3 central laws. Thousands of copies of “In Teen Kanoon Mein Kala Kya Hai” were distributed to the legal fraternity representatives present today.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana farmers are joining the Mitthi Satyagraha Yatra which will culminate at the protest sites at Delhi borders tomorrow. From around 150 villages of the two telugu-speaking states, soil is being brought to Delhi for the martyrs’ memorial that will get built.
Similarly, the Mitthi Yatra started in Chattisgarh on 3rd April is also expected to reach Singhu Border tomorrow.
The road show of Samyukt Kisan Morcha being led by Rakesh Tikait and Yudhvir Singh, along with many Gujarat farmer leaders is receiving a very warm reception from farmers of Gujarat, who are expressing their wholehearted support to the ongoing farmers’ struggle. Today, there were programs in Bardoli, which witnessed a farmers’ revolt against the colonial rulers in 1928. This movement was led by Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel. Like in the case of Bardoli Satyagraha, in the ongoing farmers’ movement too, farmers refuse to bear the injustice being meted out to them, and would rather resist and sacrifice their lives, said SKM