NEW DELHI—The Samyukta Kisan Morcha(SKM), the umbrella body of farmer unions protesting against the Centre’s three agricultural laws, have described the Modi government at the Centre as “the most anti-farmer government” in the history of Independent India.
The farm unions have made the comment in a letter sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking resumption of talks to address the demands of protesting farmers.
The farm leaders threatened to organize a nationwide protest on May 26 and also observe the day as “Black Day”.
It is on May 26 that farmers’ protest completes six months and Modi government completes seven years in office.
“On the same day (May 26), your government at the Centre, the most anti-farmer government that this country has seen, completes seven years in office,” the letter by SKM said.
(Meanwhile, 12 Opposition parties have declared their support to the countrywide protest by farmers on May 26. The parties supporting the protest are Congress, JD-Secular, Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena, DMK, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, NCP, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Alliance, Samajwadi Party, RJD, CPI and CPM.)
Accusing the Modi government of using “repression and defamation” against the protesting farmers despite the latter cooperating with the government during 11 rounds of talks in the first two months of the movement, the letter said that the government has yet failed to address the minimum demands of protesting farmers.
“Any democratic government would have repealed the three laws that have been rejected by farmers in whose name these were enacted and seized this opportunity to provide legal guarantee of minimum support price to all farmers.
Instead, your government chose to turn this into a prestige issue point and refused to budge,” the letter pointed out.
“Worse, your government has shut the doors for any dialogue since 22nd January 2021, even when you claimed the opposite,” the SKM letter to PM said. They reminded to the PM that more than 470 farmer had lost their lives since the farm stir began and held “obstinacy” of the Modi government respponsible for it.
Expressing their strong determination to continue with “the most unique, longest, largest and most peaceful protest that India has witnessed since its Independence”, the food producers of the country said that they(farmers) had to remain on the streets for half a year during the most dangerous surge of COVID-19 pandemic.
While stating that they were “fully conscious of the risks of the pandemic” and had “no desire to expose the protesting farmers or anyone else to avoidable health hazards”, the Morcha said that at the same time, the farmers cannot give up their struggle that is a “matter of life and death” for them and their future generations.
Reminding Modi that “the onus of resuming a serious and sincere dialogue with the farmers lies with you (Modi),” the farm leaders said that they were firm on three core demands: repeal of three anti-people farm laws, legal guarantee on Minimum Support Price (MSP) to be fixed by including 50 per cent profit on the input cost as per recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission and protecting farmers from the adverse impact of the proposed Electricity Bill.
The farm leaders also demanded free treatment to all COVID patients, free ration for all and free vaccination to all within six months. “We are sure that all of this is indeed possible if there is a political will,” the letter said.
The signatories to the letter are: Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal, Gurnam Singh Chadhuni, Hannan Mollah, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Shiv Kumar Kakkaji, Yogendra Yadav and Yudhvir Singh.