On Friday, a farmer died in Punjab after consuming poison while protesting the Modi Government’s Agriculture Bills. Pritam Singh, from Akkawali village, was protesting outside the house of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. He had consumed poison in anger to express his dissent. Soon after, he was admitted to Bathinda Hospital for treatment, where he died.
Farmer Pritam Singh 60, who gulped poisonous substance at protest at vill Badal against agri bills, dies, farmer organisation terms him as first shaheed of protests against bills @_YogendraYadav @kkuruganti pic.twitter.com/wDIqmE1h9d— Neel Kamal (@NeelkamalTOI) September 18, 2020
Farmer’s organisations in Punjab have declared the 60-year-old the first martyr of the Anti Agriculture Bills movement.
On Thursday, the Narendra Modi government passed two agriculture-related bills through the majority vote in the Lok Sabha: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. Because of this, the anger of the farmers in the country has increased; they are partaking in organised demonstrations, especially in Punjab and Haryana. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has said that though farmers’ protests are going on in Punjab and Haryana right now, soon it will be in the whole country.
In protest of these bills, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) resigned from the Modi government. Harsimrat Kaur Badal has resigned as the Union Minister. Sukhbir Singh Badal has also said that they will review their allyship with the BJP, and whether to stay in the NDA or leave it.
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav termed Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation the first victory of the farmer’s fight. He has said that this is the turning point of the struggle of the farmers against the company rule in agriculture.
First victory for farmers, thanks to the struggle by Punjab kisan organisations.— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) September 17, 2020
This is a turning point in the farmers' movement against company raj in Indian agriculture. https://t.co/1cPtKO4IMs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared that farmers are being falsely instigated and they should not listen to these instigators instead they should listen to Narendra Singh Tomar’s speech in the parliament “to know the truth”.
Some political parties are unsuccessfully trying to mislead the people of the country by spreading lies.— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2020
Agriculture Bill 2020 is completely farmer-friendly & aims at increasing their income. Identify the lie & support the truth: Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister pic.twitter.com/fNX0aG3hE4
But after the agitations intensified on September 18, Modi himself came to forefront. In a video message about the Bill, he criticised those who ruled the country for years and defended the government’s moves.
लेकिन कुछ लोग जो दशकों तक सत्ता में रहे हैं,— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 18, 2020
देश पर राज किया है,
वो लोग किसानों को इस विषय पर भ्रमित करने की कोशिश कर रहे हैं,
किसानों से झूठ बोल रहे हैं: PM
The Congress says that it will launch a nationwide movement against the Modi Government’s Agriculture Bills. In a press conference, Cngress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala compared the situation to Mahabaharata battle where anti farmer Modi government is the Kuravas and antagonists, and the farmers and farm labourers of this country are Pandavas. The Congress stands with the Pandavas.
Congress has also been pressurizing Haryana’s Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, who has been diplomatic about the situation since Harsimrat Kaur Badal resignation. Surjewala said, “Dushyant ji, either stay with the farmers or with Kursi, choose power or the welfare of the farmers.” He demanded that Dushyant withdraw support from the Khattar government and remember that democracies follow the people’s will. It should be noted that Khattar government of Haryana is resting on the support of Dushyant Chautala.
The Congress and other parties will hold an agitation against the Agriculture Bills. The BJP has also doubled down on the bill, and will not step back based on pressure. Instead, it will carry out a nationwide campaign in favour of this bill.