Even as the farmers’ protest in Delhi entered its ninth day as talks with the Centre failed to end the stalemate, farmers in Karnataka, who protested in small numbers over the past week, will intensify their agitation starting Monday (December 7).
Farmers’ associations and civil society groups in Karnataka will hold a week-long protest in Bengaluru from December 7 to 15, coinciding with the winter sessions of the Karnataka government’s Legislative Assembly. Besides this, the associations have also decided to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, on December 8.
Meanwhile, the farmers’ associations, which initially decided to arrange 50-60 buses to send farmers from the state to participate in the Delhi protest, have now cancelled it due to logistics issues. Instead, they vowed to intensify the protest in the state.
“In a discussion with the farmers’ groups across the country, we decided that farmers from states that are in close proximity to Delhi will participate in the Delhi protest, while those from far-off states will intensify the protest in their respective states,” farmer leader Kurubur Shantakumar said.
While he condemned the treatment meted to Punjab and Haryana farmers in Delhi, Shantakumar said the protests in the state capital will continue irrespective of whether they get permission for the demonstration from the authorities. “Jail bharo agitation will go on with participation from farmers across the state,” he added.
The farmers’ union, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), was of the opinion that all the three laws amended in 2020 — Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act — are a death knell to farmers across the country.
They are also up against the state government’s move to amend the Karnataka Land Reforms Act and APMC Act.
Even as the Centre indicates that it’s unlikely to repeal all the three Acts but is willing to make certain amendments to the legislations, farmers’ unions stood their ground seeking the government to withdraw the three legislations moved in Parliament in September.
KRRS member and farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar expressed confidence that at least 10,000-15,000 farmers from across the state will participate in the protest in Bengaluru starting on December 7.
He believes that the new legislations will only deprive the farmers of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and put farmers at the mercy of big industrialists. The government, however, stressed that it would only accelerate investment and growth and not hinder their prospect to sell at a fair price.
Aikya Horata, a coalition of farmers, workers and Dalit groups, All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and Kisan Congress cell expressed support to the farmers’ protests and said they are preparing to organise protests at the district centres as well.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Agriculture Minister BC Patil’s comment that farmers who commit suicide are cowards, drew much criticism from farmers associations.