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Differences surface as human rights issues 'highlighted' during farmers' agitation

By Harsh Thakor

As intensity of the farmers’ resistance in Delhi surges, one wonders whether it has the potential of adding a new chapter in the history of protests in India. Indeed, never before in recent past have the rulers been embarrassed to such as extent as they seem to be have been during the current farmers’ agitation.
One could witness how the unity of varying farmers’ organizations -- the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) factions of Ugrahan, Rakewal, Dakaunda and the Kirti Kisan Union -- is tightening the noose around the Centre’s refusal accept their main demand, to take back the three farm bills.
Meanwhile, large sections of workers, employees and students are joining in the struggle. There was a contingent of women belonging to the families of suicide victims, which was seen marching in to the outskirts of Delhi in Tokri area in order to highlight their economic plight.
Following the successful Bharat bandh on December 8, on December 10 the BKU (Ugrahan) organised an impactful programme condemning the arrest of human rights activists, all of them intellectuals, across India, calling it an example of social fascism. Its leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan refuted the allegation by a section that the programme suggested the agitation is influenced or infiltrated by Maoists, insisting it has a mass democratic character.
There was notable participation of the Tarksheel Society, whose activists narrated the connection between the designs of a proto-fascist regime and the course of a peasant agitation should take. They insisted, the release of activists-intellectuals, who have been falsely framed, should be the integral part of the struggle for re-establishing faith in democracy.
As BKU (Ugrahan) activists vigilantly guarded and patrolled the Tikri area, “Surkh Leeh” editor Pavel Kussa, addressing a gathering, insisted on the need to ensure unity of various sections at a time when the Congress and the Akali Dal, too, have supported them. He said, the road to solving problems of the agricultural crisis would determine the direction of the agitation. BKU (Ugrahan) woman leader Harinder Bindu added rarely one saw women farmers participating in such large numbers.
The Bharat bandh organised on December 8 seems to have struck as a thorn in the flesh for the ruling BJP. One saw a huge involvement of industrial workers, even as galvanising students, youths and government employees as never before. Sanjeev Mintu, president, Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union, said, it has had an electrifying effect on the youth who have been found to be swayed by the lure of drugs. 
Leaders insisted on the need to guard against the agitation being identified with Sikh militancy in order to communalise it
All this came in amidst solidarity support from Canada, Australia, England and America, as also from different parts of India, even as leaders insisted on the need to guard against the agitation being identified with Sikh militancy in order to communalise it.
Solidarity actions were undertaken by the Bhagat Singh Chatra Morcha in Uttar Pradesh, which staged street corner protests. Civil liberties groups and activists like the Association for Democratic Rights in Punjab, Civil Liberties Committee of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights of Delhi declared their support to the farmers. Ex-servicemen in army, singers and actors also declared their support.
One could also witness differences among farmer organisations. Three of them independently approached the Government of India for talks after being invited for negotiations. BKU (Ugarhan) was critical of this type of approach.
On the other hand, (Ugrahan) came in for criticism from 31 organisations for staging human rights programme on December 10. They felt it was not in harmony with the situation and violated the collective spirit. Buta Singh Burgill of BKU (Dakaunda) and Rajinder of Kirti Kisan Union spoke out against this. They insisted that only economic demands should be addressed from the farmers’ platform.

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