The farmers and agricultural labourers in India have been protesting against three farms laws introduced by the government, by camping at various Delhi borders since November 26, 2020.
The protesting farmers have been led by several farmers’ unions and supported by various trade unions, labour organizations and opposition parties. They have been demanding the government to repeal the farm laws namely, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Along with that demand has also been made for a legal guarantee on Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for their crops.
On Sunday a joint statement by 12 opposition parties was released in support of the call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) for a countrywide protest on May 26. The day chosen for the protest marks the completion of six months of peaceful protests by farmers and agricultural labourers.
The joint statement is signed by Indian National Congress’s acting president Sonia Gandhi, former Indian Primer Minister HD Dewe Gowda of Janata Dal (Secular), National Congress Party’s Chief Sharad Pawar, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee (TMC), Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackery (Shiv Sena), Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K Stalin (DMK), Chief Minister of Jharkhand Hemant Sore (JMM), former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Farooq Abdullah (JKPA), former Chief Minister of Akhilesh Yadav (SP), leader of opposition in Bihar Tejashwi Yadav (JDU), D Raj General Secretary of the Communis Paty of India (CPI) and the Sitaram Yechury of Communist Party of India (Marxist).
In the joint statement, the signatories have also demanded that the contentious farm laws must be repealed immediately and as recommended by the Swaminathan Committee for the legal entitlement of Minimum Support Price should be given. Moreover, the statement said, BJP led Central government should resume talks with the SKM in consideration of the demands that they have raised.
Earlier on May 12, 2021, the signatories had written jointly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded from the government to “repeal farm laws to protect lakhs of our annadatas become victims of the pandemic so that they can continue to produce food to feed the Indian people”
The protesting farmers and agricultural labourers have braved extreme weather conditions and police brutality to continue their movement. So far more than 300 protestors have lost their lives for various reasons.