With the farmers’ protest growing across the country and farm distress reaching new heights, should the Modi government review its farm policies?
A massive protest march by farmers from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi with a charter of 15 demands including loan waiver and fair prices for crops turned violent at the border on Tuesday, with police using water cannons and tear gas to disperse them.
Led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), thousands of farmers on their way to Kisan Ghat in the national capital were stopped at the Delhi border by the police. The farmers then tried to forcibly break barricades and defy prohibitory orders. Prohibitory orders banning the assembly of five or more persons have been clamped in several areas near the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border and will continue till October 8. The police even lathicharged and unleashed water cannons on the protesting farmers after they tried to evade the barricades.
The farmers’ demands include complete loan waiver, revoking the ban on 10-year-old tractors in the National Capital Region, reduction in electricity tariff, implementation of the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission on remunerative prices and payment of sugarcane arrears among others. The police crackdown was denounced by opposition parties.
With the farmer’s protest growing across the country and farm distress reaching new heights, should the Modi govt. review its farm policies? or Is the Modi government Anti-farmer? HW News brings you reactions from across political parties:
Ashok Gehlot, AICC General Secretary:
“The BJP government says they will celebrate the 150th “Gandhi Jayanti” in a grand way throughout the year. Mahatma Gandhi was an advocate of Non-Violence and the entire world on 2nd October celebrated the International Non-violence Day. But this government destroyed the idea of non-violence day. Be it UP or Delhi, wherever the lathicharge has happened, I strongly condemn it. They could have talked to farmers, have had a dialogue with them but instead, they brutally unleashed violence on them.”
Raju Shetty, Lok Sabha MP:
“The farmers were going to ask for justice and their rights in Delhi. They were not going to attack. They are not terrorists. Who gave them the right to stop farmers? Everyone has the right to go to the capital. The Mahatma who taught non-violence to the entire world placed his demands in front of the government in a non-violent manner presented an example. These people who come to power in the name of Mahatma ji, who have come to power on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, throw stones on farmers, shed pellets, they should be ashamed. I strongly condemn it. Its response will come from the entire country and the farmers.”
Nawab Malik, NCP Spokesperson:
“The farmers wanted to go to Rajghat in Delhi. Farmers were Indian citizens, what big storm came upon them when they went there. The real face of BJP came out when lathi charge was done on the farmers, the tear gas shells were pressed. It was the birth anniversary of the leader who gave us the slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kisan, It is the birth anniversary of the leader who gave us a message of non-violence and the Modi government is unleashing violence on farmer on the same day. Modiji is only giving the slogan “Mar Jawan, Mar Kisan”. We feel that the real face of BJP has come in front of people. Anti-farmer mentality, oppressive mentality is exposed.”
D Raja, Rajya Sabha MP, CPI:
“Government just make tall claims. Mr. Modi talks about doubling the income of the farmers, Mr. Modi talks about the increasing the MSP, Mr. Modi claims his govt. is “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas”. But farmers are in an unprecedented distress and debt. They are committing suicides across the country and are protesting and agitating. Farmers even marched from Nashik to Mumbai. Everyone knows Mr. Fadnavis gave them a lot of assurances. Finally, nothing happened. Now, farmers marched from Varanasi to Delhi. Delhi is the capital of the country and they must have allowed the farmers to come to Delhi where our parliament is situated. They should have allowed them to express their grievances.”
“They must have been allowed to protest. So that the government understands their grievances. This government is so insensitive that they did not allow them to enter the national capital. It is atrocious how they used the might of the police and other security forces to unleash violence on the farmers. What happened yesterday was nothing but state-sponsored violence against farmers. That could have been avoided. The protest is a form of democracy and farmers wanted to come to Delhi and express their grievances. Why they were not allowed? And the police is under Home Ministry, the violence happened under the nose of Home Ministry and the government. We strongly condemned the violence unleashed against the farmers.”