Skip to main content

Holding militant rallies across Punjab, farmers 'forced' Prime Minister to retreat to Delhi

By Harsh Thakor* 

The farmers' spirit, elevated and reverberated at a boiling point in Ferozpur like a spark turning into a prairie fire, appears to be behind Prime Minister Narinder Modi having being compelled to retreat to Delhi due to a virtually boycotted pandal. Demonstrations held just ahead of Modi's visit, especially in Firozpur, seemed to have already created tremors in the belly of the ruling party.
The speakers at these demonstrations summed up how BJP policies were bent on giving a blow to the economy in every sphere and destroy the fabric of democracy. They persuaded the farmers not to bear any illusions on the promises of the rulers and never derail from the path of struggle. Demonstrations were held in 16 districts and 17 cities. There were blockades and sit-ins. Farmer organizations protested Modi's rally in their respective areas.
Near Ferozpur, the Kisaan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee came up with the biggest mobilization, while other organizations such as Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Krantikari, BKU Ekta Ugrahan, Kirti Kisan Union, Punjab Kisan Union, BKU Dakonda held huge rallies in their strongholds. The buses (which were mostly empty anyway) which were moving to Firozpur were forced to go back.
Various agricultural and rural labourers' organizations such as the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union also participated in state-wide demonstrations in their own respective areas. Most of these demonstrations took place on January 5.
Earlier, senior leaders of the Krantikari Kisan Union, Azad Kisan Committee Doaba, Jai Kisan Andolan, BKU (Sidhupur), Kisan Sangharsh Committee Kotbudha, Lok Bhalai Welfare Society, BKU Krantikari, Dasuha Ganna Committee and others, held a meeting in Barnala and announced protests to be held in villages and district headquarters across the State opposing Modi's visit.
Volunteers held huge effigy burning programmes amidst rain, creating effect of lightning, raising the slogan 'Modi Go Back'. They termed their event as a kind of vengeance towards the Prime Minister, who ignored farmers for one and a half years, leading to the death of more than 700 farmers and farm labourers.
Farmer leader Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, through a press statement, stated that the cause of such a huge protests was, while on one hand the government was refusing to file the case of murder in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and was showing no sign of removing Ajay Mishra Taini as Union minister, local farmer leaders were being huddled in jails.
It urged the government to waive of all kinds of government and non-government loans on farmers and farm workers, adding there is strong resentment because of the non-implementation of Swaminathan Commission report for price fixation of crops, and two crore jobs annually as promised in the election manifesto.
Farmer leaders alleged that the Modi government is not only conspiring to reinforce the black laws but is also selling public property and the natural resources of the country to the lap of Indian and foreign corporates. During his visit to Punjab, Modi was seeking to hoodwink people with false assurances.
Volunteers held huge effigy burning programmes amidst rain, creating effect of lightning, raising the slogan Modi Go Back
The fact of the matter is, they said, burning issues like minimum support price (MSP), public distribution system, fuel oil prices, selling of public establishments, release of the human rights activists and such other public interest issues connected with life and liberty of the masses were not being addressed, even as the government was patronising the Indian corporates and MNCs.
The demonstrators took place despite a very significant polarisation between farmer organisations which had come together under the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) from on the issue what stand they should take in state elections in Punjab. A big chunk insisted on fighting polls, while others said it was not their job.
BKU (Ugrahan) insisted that their platform cannot be turned into a forum of the ruling class parties and under no condition would support any candidate. On the other hand, the BKU (Rajewal) appeared to support Sikh politics by becoming part and parcel of electoral politics. Following a meeting with several farmer leaders, Balbir Singh Rajewal announced the decision to contest the elections on all 117 Assembly seats.
Though leaders claimed they would not join hands with any other party, sources amongst the farmer leaders as well as the Aam Aadmi Party said alliances were being worked out by chalking out a common minimum programme.
Of the 32 unions part of the SKM, nine — Krantikari Kisan Union (Dr Darshan Pal), BKU Krantikari (Surjit Phool), BKU Sidhupur (Jagjit Dallewal), Azad Kisan Committee Doaba (Harpal Sangha), Jai Kisan Andolan (Gurbakhsh Barnala), Dasuha Ganna Sangharsh Committee (Sukhpal Daffar), Kisan Sangharsh Committee Punjab (Inderjit Kotbudha), Lok Bhalai Insaaf Welfare Society (Baldev Sirsa) and Kirti Kisan Union Punjab (Hardev Sandhu) — declared not to be part of any political front.
---
Freelance journalist based in Mumbai, who toured India Punjab duing farmers' agitation

Comments

. said…
Kisan mazdoor Sangharsh Committee Punjab Zindabad - Sarwan Singh Pandher Zindabad - ModiSarkar Murdabad

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen