The farmers, who have been protesting against the contentious three farm laws at the Delhi borders for over four months now, have now decided to revitalise their movement by planning a massive march to Parliament.
This was announced on Wednesday by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 40 farmers’ unions that has been at the forefront of these protests, reported NDTV.
The date for the march to Parliament by the farmers has not been finalised as yet. It will be held in the “first fortnight of May”, said the farmers’ union in a statement.
The farmers had first decided to go to the Parliament on foot on Budget day on February 1 from different locations but that plan was dropped after their tractor rally on Republic Day had gone awry and turned violent.
As the BJP-led government has been caught up in state Assembly elections in five states, the farmer’s agitation which had attracted front page news for many months, has largely gone unnoticed of late. Hence, the SKM has now pledged to intensify the agitation from April 1 and turn the government’s radar towards them.
According to the SKM, women, Dalit-Adivasi-Bahujans, unemployed youth and every section of the society will also join the farmers in this march. The protesters will come from the three main protests sites – Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur – in their vehicles to converge together and participate in this march, which will be by “paidal” (on foot). They KMP expressway will also be blocked for 24 hours on April 10.
“This program will be completely peaceful,” read the SKM statement, said media reports.
Their tractor rally however was marked by violence as many people were injured when thousands of farmers on tractors failed to stick to their permitted routes, chalked out by the government and had broken barriers set up by the authorities. However, the farmers alleged that the violence was instigated by the government, who wanted to malign the image of the protesting farmers.
The farmer’s protest which started in June 2020 in Punjab, picked up pace when 31 farmers organisations joined together to protest against the new ordinances in September. After the President Ram Nath Govind gave his assent to the Bill, the farmers have since conducted various protests, including the call to ‘Delhi Chalo’, a Bharat Bandh, rail rokos and a tractor rally, to draw attention to their demands.
The farmers fear that the three farm laws will enable large corporate houses to take over traditional crop markets and edge them out of the scene. The government is also trying to scrap the minimum support price system through these laws, they allege. Despite eleven round of talks between the government and the farmers’ unions, there has been no solution in sight to the problem. This has prompted the Supreme Court to pull up the government for its handling of the farmers’ protest.