New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliated farmers union Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) said Wednesday that it will hold public meetings and protests across the country for the reintroduction of the three farm laws introduced last year and now repealed by the Narendra Modi government.
The BKS wants to suggest some changes to the laws, including an assurance that farmers will get remunerative prices for their produce, and the setting up of a registration portal for buyers and special courts to address farmers’ complaints.
In a press conference organised in the national capital, the BKS announced that as part of the next phase of its movement for the reintroduction of the farm laws, public awareness campaigns will be conducted in every village across the country between 1 and 10 January. The union also declared its intention to hold a dharna (protest) in every block and tehsil on 11 January, on former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death anniversary.
“Farm laws were beneficial for 90 per cent of farmers in the country. Small and marginal farmers, who are represented by us, not the ones who protested and caused disruption at the Delhi border for over a year (a reference to the protest for withdrawal of farm laws),” claimed BKS general secretary Badri Narayan, addressing the press.
“We were surprised and disappointed with the repeal of farm laws as farmers received nothing and the status quo was established again, and only people who wanted Modi to bow down got happy. It is a sad fact that the government only listens to people who block roads to create disruption and violence, but not to people like us, who were demanding the right things for farmers, peacefully and democratically,” Narayan said.
The BKS also declared that the government should take measures to ensure that remunerative prices are paid to farmers across the country, as the current system of providing minimum support price (MSP) is not enough to assist them.
‘Farmers didn’t get anything from protest’
“The current return that is being promised by government under MSP is not even sufficient for an unskilled labourer. However, the government must remember that farmers are entrepreneurs and should be given a remunerative price. A farmer employs multiple people throughout the agricultural process, while contributing to overall national growth,” said BKS all India secretary K. Sai Reddy.
“One method of providing remunerative price to farmers is by reducing their input cost drastically. This can be done by using new, popular method of natural farming, which has also been endorsed by the PM. Under natural farming, farmers use locally-available agricultural raw materials (such as cow dung manure instead of fertilisers) to reduce production cost, leading to better returns and increased profits,” Reddy added.
The BKS, in a press release issued later Wednesday, also pointed out that it had started a peaceful, non-violent and democratic movement for implementation of the farm laws, after bringing in changes suggested by it, in September last year. As part of its movement, memorandums of demand were sent from 20,000 village committees to PM Modi and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. Then, on 8 September this year, dharnas were started at 513 district centres, in support of the BKS’ demands.
“The farmers of the country did not get anything from the so-called movement (for withdrawal of farm laws). But question marks were certainly raised on farmers and their future movements,” added the release, referring to PM Modi’s announcement last month to withdraw the controversial farm laws.
“We extended our moral support to the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM, a coalition of farmers unions leading the protest for the withdrawal of the farm laws) in the beginning. But as protests went onm there was violence, as well as anti-social and anti-national activities, due to which we withdrew our support,” alleged Badri Narayan.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)