Skip to main content

Farmers' suicide: Pressure mounts on leaders ahead of rally to mark Vibrant Gujarat summit inaugural

Sagar Rabari
By Our Representative
Even as the Sanyukt Khedut Sangharsh Samiti – the joint action committee of farmers' non-political bodies – has declared it will go ahead with its plan to “oppose the wasteful expenditure behind the Vibrant Gujarat 2015 extravaganza” on January 11-13, apprehensions have run strong that the Gujarat government will do all-out to crush their planned meeting of farmer activists to converge at Adalaj on January 11 for a protest. The committee has said, the “farmers' rights rally”, which began on January 1, will show its might, come what may, reaching Adalaj, in the outskirts of Gandhinagar, Gujarat capital.
Pointing out how the committee's leaders are being hounded, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Samaj-Gujarat said, intelligence and the police have been “constantly tailing” committee leaders. He added, “It is quite obvious from this behaviour that the government is running scared of the farmers. The government is now actively trying to suppress the voice of the farmers. We apprehend that the government may try to take the leaders into preventive detention and may employ all unconstitutional and undemocratic means at its disposal to stop the farmers from getting to Gandhinagar.”
“Requesting” the state government to “put faith in democracy to let the farmers exercise their democratic right to voice their demands”, and “refrain from creating an environment of fear, and rather listen to the farmers’ agony and distress”, Rabari said, “In the same breath, let us also tell the government not to mistake our democratic and law-abiding behaviour as our weakness; we are fully capable to announce and carry out more aggressive programmes.”
“The government may consider this as one rally, for us this is the beginning of our struggle”, Rabari said in a statement, adding, “We are resolved to fight to the end. Our struggle will not end with the completion of the Vibrant summit. We will fight, but we will secure our rights.” Already, the campaign, he claimed, has “received widespread support of the farmers across the districts” -- especially in Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Amreli, Junagadh, Rajkot and Surendranagar.
Suicide by four farmers over the last fortnight over poor price for cotton (click HERE to read), with the Gujarat government refusing to increase the minimum support price, is said to be the main reason behind the new round of protests. Meanwhile, in an open letter, several voluntary organisations and activists has told the CEOs attending the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit (VGGIS) 2015 that the Gujarat government's “blind race towards mindless industrialization, because of crony capitalism, has endangered traditional livelihoods and rendered farmers unemployed and unemployable.”
The letter said, “The skilled and semi-skilled people in traditional occupations, considered as unskilled or semi-skilled by the present model of development, are not absorbed in new industries envisaged by the Gujarat government and is blatantly taking the poor for a ride and misleading the people about the fraudulent Gujarat model of development”.
“Having lost their water, land and coasts (for fishing) these poor people are left bereft of any sustainable rehabilitative support save the one-time compensation for land lost (very meagre and often belated). Before signing MoUs with the Gujarat government, ensure that you meet and interact seriously with the impacted people/communities”, the letter insisted.
It added, “Hundreds of NGOs representing several million members of civil society are already opposing extremely strongly the MOUs/Agreements signed which not only affect their livelihoods but also their sense of dignity which we are sure you would not wish to happen. Hundreds of people’s movements are ongoing and more may be launched across the country to oppose the fake promises made by Narendra Modi and his government.”
The resources (land, water, coasts) that are proposed to be sacrificed by the Government are part of a well thought out crony capitalist ideology which the people of India oppose tooth and nail. All these realities are being hidden from you by the Government of Gujarat and the Government of India.
The letter further said, “At the earlier Vibrant Gujarat events too several MoUs were signed but very few have been executed due to resistance from the dispossessed and poor people of Gujarat who are backed solidly by many NGOs/people’s movements. Should you wish, we would be happy to send to you some examples of the unfair and unjust economic policies that Modi has attempted to execute in the state as the Chief Minister but failed to do so because of massive resistance of the people.”
Of tens of activists who signed the letter included veteran former Congress leader Sanat Mehta, president, Khedut Samaj-Gujarat; Sagar Rabari, Secretary, Khedut Samaj-Gujarat; Persis Ginwalla, Jameen Adhikar Aandolan Gujarat (JAAG); Indukumar Jani, Editor, Naya Marg, Ahmedabad; and Rohit Prajapati, senior activist, Vadodara, and others.

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there. 

How retraints were imposed on academic freedom on the IIM-Ahmedabad campus

By Sandeep Pandey*  This is the seventh consecutive academic year when I would have gone as a visiting faculty member to the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad to teach an Elective course on Transformational Social Movements to the second year of Post Graduate Programme students. But the invitation has not come so far and it looks like it is the end of my teaching stint at IIM, at least, so long as the Bhartiya Janata Party remains in power at the centre.