Will resume agitation on pending demands of legal guarantee to MSP, farm loan waiver: SKM

New Delhi: Farmers' body SKM on Thursday announced it will resume its agitation over its pending demands, including a legal guarantee to MSP and loan waiver, and submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi.The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organisation of farm unions that led the 2020-21 farmers' protest, made the announcement a day after its general body met but indicated that unlike then, its agitation this time may not be a march to Delhi.

Leaders of the outfit told a press conference that appointments will be sought between July 16 and July 18 to meet the prime minister, the leader of opposition and MPs of both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha and give them the memorandum listing the farmers' demands.

The SKM also said memorials to honour those who died during the 2020-21 protest should be built at Delhi's Tikri and Singhu borders, where agitators camped for more than a year as part of their agitation that also pressed for compensation of farmers who died in the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh.

Asked if farmers will march to Delhi again, the SKM leaders said this time they are focusing on nationwide protests, particularly in assembly election-bound Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana.

"The same method of protest does not have to be used every time. We will hold protests across the country," All India Kisan Sabha's (AIKS) Hannan Mollah, who was a part of the general body meeting, said.

SKM leaders claimed that the BJP faced losses in 159 rural-dominated parliamentary constituencies in different state in the recent Lok Sabha polls due to the farmers' movement.

In a statement, released after the press conference, the SKM said, "The general body has decided to resume the agitation demanding implementation of the agreement, dated December 9, 2021, that the Union government has with the SKM, signed by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Government of India, and other key demands affecting the livelihood of farmers."

Besides Mollah, farmer leaders Avik Saha, Prem Chand Gehlawat, P Krishnaprasad, Dr Sunilam, Yudhvir Singh and R Venkaiya also addressed reporters.

They said as part of resuming the agitation, they will seek appointments with MPs of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, as well as Modi and Gandhi on July 16, 17 or 18 to submit the memorandum.

On August 9, the SKM will observe "Quit India Day" as "Corporates Quit India Day" by holding demonstrations across the country in support of its demands, the organisation said.

The SKM has demanded that India must come out of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and multinational corporations not be allowed to enter the agriculture sector.

On August 17, the SKM's Punjab unit will hold three-hour protests in front of the residences of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and his ministers on issues of water crisis, debt burden, opening the India-Pakistan trade through road corridors and federal demands of the state against the "policy of centralisation of power and resources" by the Modi-led NDA government.

The SKM, on the same day, will also organise seminars in all states on the issue of water crisis and climate change affecting agriculture.

The demands of farmers include ensuring a legally guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) based on the C2+50 per cent formula with assured procurement for all crops, no privatisation of the power sector and no implementation of prepaid smart meters, compensation to all the families of those who died during the farmers' movement and withdrawal of all cases related to the farmers' agitation.

Comprehensive insurance coverage for all crops, a monthly pension of Rs 10,000 for all farmers and agricultural workers and implementing the land acquisition law of 2013 are also part of their demands.

"The general body meeting strongly condemned the anti-farmer government of the NDA for violating the agreement made after the supreme sacrifice of 736 martyrs and sufferings of lakhs of farmers who participated for 384 days - 26th November, 2020 to 11th December, 2021 - of consistent...struggle at the Delhi borders," the SKM said in its statement.

Elaborating on its claim of the BJP losing in rural-dominated Lok Sabha seats, the SKM said, "The defeat of the BJP in 38 rural seats from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra and the defeat of the then Union ministers Ajay Mishra Teni in Lakhimpur Kheri, UP, and Arjun Munda (agriculture minister) in Khunti, Jharkhand, reveals the impact of the farmers struggle... the BJP has lost in 159 rural dominated constituencies."

Eight people, including four farmers and a journalist, were killed in violence in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3, 2021, that erupted after an SUV, which was part of the convoy of Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra, rammed through a crowd. Three BJP workers were lynched.

"In the upcoming assembly elections, the state coordination committees of Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir will convene their meetings and ensure an independent and massive campaign among the farmers based on the SKM's demands to expose, oppose and punish BJP in the forthcoming assembly elections," they said.

Apart from their key demands, the SKM has demanded a separate budget for agriculture, abolition of the Department of Cooperation in the Union government and no GST on agricultural inputs.

( Source : PTI )
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