New Delhi: Criticising the use of force on protesting farmers from Punjab and Haryana, RSS affiliate Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) Friday said the Modi government should go after those “who are provoking and misleading” them.
Concerned over the “politicisation” of the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three farm bills, the BKS has asked the government to ensure the agitation is resolved peacefully and that the MSP (minimum support price) is guaranteed in the open market too.
“This protest has become a political game and it is the farmer who is caught in the middle. The kind of atrocities that the farmers have faced should have been avoided and rather the government should go after those who are provoking and misleading the farmers. At the same time, the government needs to ensure that MSP is applicable for farmers in the open market, besides mandi, too,” BKS organising secretary Dinesh Kulkarni told ThePrint.
Kulkarni added the government has been claiming that it is buying the farmers’ produce at MSP, but it is only to the extent of 8-10 per cent.
“Rest of the farmers are still being forced to sell their produce at a lesser rate. We have asked the government that it should integrate MSP with the open market and, therefore, regardless of where a farmer sells his produce, he would be assured a minimum support price. No one should be allowed to purchase below it,” he added.
The government has now called a meeting on 3 December with all trade unions and protesting farmer groups to resolve the matter.
“We are in touch with the protesting farmers and have informed them that a meeting has been called on 3 December. We should take up all relevant issues there in a peaceful manner,” Kulkarni said.
Several farmers’ organisations, especially in Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the three bills, which have also been termed anti-farmer by the opposition. One of their major demands is that MSP be made a legal provision to assure a better price to farmers.
Thousands of protesting farmers from Punjab entered Haryana Thursday from various entry points at its border with Punjab, braving water cannons and tear gas shells on day one of the two-day ‘Dilli Chalo’ rally against the farm bills. The farmers have entered Delhi Friday, where they will hold their protest in Burari, according to farmers’ organisations.
The Modi government had passed three farm bills in September — Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and Amendment to 1955 Essential Commodities Act.
They are aimed at extricating farmers from manipulation by middlemen and to allow them to trade freely outside the mandis set up under the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts at the central level and in different states.
‘Govt needs to resolve this amicably’
Mohini Mohan Mishra, All-India secretary of BKS, said both the government and the opposition “seem adamant” and it is the farmers who are caught between the two.
“Ultimately, farmers are the losers in this entire exercise. Violence is not the answer. But at the same time, farmers should also avoid getting caught in the political game. The government needs to resolve this amicably. At the same time, the tax that farmers have to pay at the mandis should be taken up by the (central) government, state government and parties too,” Mishra said.
The BJP Kisan Morcha is also in touch with the farmers from Punjab.
“This protest is no longer about the farmers but the Left and the Congress, who are trying to use this to target the government. Our Punjab wing is in touch with the protesting farmers and has assured them that their concerns will be heard. The government has taken steps for the welfare of the farmers, but Congress is trying to mislead them,” said Rajkumar Chahar, BJP MP and president of Kisan Morcha.