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Farmers protest against farm bills

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Several farmer organisations on Friday staged a protest across the country against the controversial farm bills that were passed by the Parliament amid protest of the Opposition.

Farmers’ protest across India

In fact, highways leading to Delhi were blocked by agitating farmers at several places in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. The blockade was in response to a ‘Bharat Bandh’ given by various farmers’ outfits. Protests were also held in Odisha, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

In fact, Tamil Nadu farmers from the National South Indian River Interlinking Farmers’ Association sat outside the collector’s office in Trichy with human skulls, chained hands and nooses around their necks.

Protest started from Punjab and Haryana

Ahead of the highway blockade on Friday, around 30 farmers groups on Thursday staged protests across Punjab to press the state government to initiate action to declare the whole state as a mandi or market place and ensure that all farmers get at least the government declared minimum support price (MSP).

Alongside highway blockade, the farmer groups began a three-day “rail roko” protest to stall movement of trains with scores of farmers sitting on the tracks at six different sites.

Assuring that protests would remain peaceful, Dr Shamsher Singh, spokesperson of the Bhoomi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, said the plan is to put pressure on the Haryana government too to take up the issue in the state assembly of extending the reach of APMC mandis by declaring the whole state as a mandi or market place so that farmers are assured at least the MSP rates.

“The withdrawal of Food Corporation of India (FCI) from the state would be catastrophic for farmers as they will not be able to get fair price for their wheat and rice crops. Unless the government makes MSP the floor price, farmers will be at a disadvantage,” Singh stated.

Opposition parties supporting farmers’ protest

With political parties joining the fray, farmers’ protests have spread beyond the northern states from Madhya Pradesh to West Bengal and from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Thursday also witnessed the opening of the first private mandi at Arania Khurd village of Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. Though the response from farmers in the vicinity was good with many farmers bringing their produce for sale, concerns over the three new farm bills continued to gather political storm.

Farmer groups are divided on whether freeing up farmers from the APMC mandis would really work in their favour. Many farmer groups are determined to continue their protest for several more days.

PM Modi criticises Opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hit out at Opposition leaders over their protests against the farm Bills. He said that those who always “lied” to farmers are now “shooting from their shoulders” and misleading them for their own political benefit.

“They are spreading rumours. Saving farmers from such rumours and explaining the importance of the agriculture reforms is the responsibility and duty of all BJP workers because we have to make the future of farmers bright,” Modi said during an address to BJP workers on the occasion of the birth anniversary of party’s ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay.

 

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