Eight months of unprecedented farmers’ protest has continued to challenge the BJP-RSS Government’s anti-farmer and anti-democratic measures.
Historic All Women Kisan Sansad:
Today, the historic Mahila Kisan Sansad held a day-long debate on Amendments to the Essential Commodities Act in 2020. The Sansad condemns the legal sanction given to hoarding and black-marketing. Women in the Farmers’ Parliament have demanded for a repeal of the Amendments made in 2020 immediately and pass other resolutions as well.
The Kisan Sansad, being run in Jantar Mantar, parallel to India’s Parliament throughout this monsoon session, was an exclusive all-women Sansad. Members of Mahila Kisan Sansad who participated in the debate pointed out that the above amendments have given legal sanction to hoarding and black marketing by big corporations and others in the food supply chain. They stated that the dark implications of this law are not just on farmers but on consumers everywhere. They also pointed out that in the name of export orders, any amount of hoarding can be done by big capital, even in the case of extreme emergencies in the country.
It was concluded that the Government has given up its mandate, intent and power to protect the interest of ordinary citizens, through this 2020 law. Given the gendered roles thrust on women to take care of food security of the household, this law undermines women’s ability to provide for food security. “When food becomes un-affordable due to this law, we will be forced to eat less.”- As stated during the Kisan Sansad.
The Mahila Kisan Sansad had a woman member, Smt Ramesh, who had lost her husband during this Andolan; despite her personal loss, she has been active in the struggle. The members also paid homage to Kargill Martyrs, on Vijay Diwas today.
Resolutions Addressing the Position of Women in the Farmers’ Movement:
Historic resolutions were passed unanimously in the Women Farmers’ Parliament that highlighted the neglected contributions of women to Indian agriculture and the farmers movement.
Resolution 1: Even though women contribute quite significantly to our farming, they do not receive the dignity, recognition and status that they ought to in the country. Their labour, hard work, skills and knowledge and their vitality should be taken on board by people’s movements and by our society. There should be well-thought-out measures adopted to increase the role and space for women in the Kisan Andolan.
Resolution 2: It is unanimously resolved in this Mahila Kisan Sansad that women be given 33% representation in Parliament and Assemblies on the pattern of local bodies like Panchayats and Municipal Committees. A Constitutional Amendment be made in this regard for giving due representation to women who constitute 50% of the population.
A group of women’s rights activists of Delhi who had reached Jantar Mantar to welcome the members of the Mahila Kisan Sansad were detained by the Delhi Police. They were picked up from Jantar Mantar and detained for several hours at Barakhamba Police Station, and released later.
Elsewhere in Punjab, in a majority of local protest sites in 108 locations (these are sites where protesters have been holding dharnas continuously at corporate outlets, outside Adani dry port, at toll plazas etc.), it was women farmers who led the proceedings today.
Envisioning the Next Phase of the Farmers’ Protest:
Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) launched Mission Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand today and announced that the Mission will be formally initiated with a massive rally in Muzaffarnagar on September 5th, 2021.
Under Mission Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand launched today from Lucknow, it was announced that the current farmers’ movement will be taken to every village of the two states, to strengthen it the way it has happened in Punjab and Haryana. Through this, corporate control of our food and farming systems will be challenged from all corners of these states also by farmers.
SKM called upon farmer unions and other progressive forces to join hands, and as part of the Mission, free up all toll plazas in the states. Protests would be organised at Ambani and Adani locations in these states. BJP and allied parties will face protests in their various programs, and their leaders will face social boycott as part of the mission. Similar social boycot has taken place in other states. For example, In Haryana, in Bhiwani and Hisar, state government ministers faced black flag protests from farmers yesterday. In Karnal, a BJP meeting was opposed by farmers with black flags. In Ferozepur in Punjab too, protesters gheraoed a BJP leader Surinder Singh.
As part of the mission, meetings, dialogues, yatras and rallies will also be organised to provide critical shape to the movement.