11
Jun

Farmers Protest – Jabta

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Punjab

Day 197

Toll 505+

#FarmersProtest

Jabta

As we near 200 days of the farmers protest, I am reminded of a statement early on, by a tall farmer leader. He had said: ‘In every battle/struggle it is very important to maintain the Jabta – Code of Conduct. Without Jabta, the winning side can lose; with Jabta, the losing side can win.’

For the past many months, we have seen how the farmers have maintained excellent Code of Conduct on the Delhi’s borders. Off late, given that the BJP keeps instigating the farmers in Haryana to gather resources in the state against the official machinery, wants to keep the protesters confined to Haryana, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha has now issued a few guidelines on protests against BJP.

The SKM has said: the social boycott and agitations against the leaders of BJP and its allies will be in the context of their official programs, including government and political, and not for their personal or private events, like weddings and participation in funeral processions. All resistance will be completely peaceful, through the use of black flags or slogans, and will not involve any violence or use of force.

This is important so farmers can focus on Delhi borders and upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections in 2022 which will pave way to national elections 2024. Ghazipur protest organisers have issued a roster on how various parts of Western UP should move on particular dates, through the month, every month, to reach the Ghazipur border. Meanwhile, district-wise, huge numbers of farmers from Haryana are reaching Singhu and Tikri.

The farmers have also rejected the MSP announced for Kharif crops, especially Paddy, and Tur and Urad Dals. The Centre has increased the Paddy rates by Rs 72 to Rs 1,940 per quintal from Rs 1,868 per quintal last year. Farmers say this increase violates the Swaminathan Commission guidelines which was a BJP manifesto promise in 2014. Instead of using Comprehensive Cost C2 as the cost concept on which a profit margin of at least 50 % will be added, the government has continued with its old trickery of using Paid Out Costs + notional value of Family Labour.

This developments clearly indicate that while the nation may have forgotten the protests, lapdog media might have ignored the protests, on ground the Code of Conduct is strong, the protests are strengthening, and the government will have no respite from them until it takes back the Farm Laws and legalises MSP.

9
Jun

Farmers Protest: Maize

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Day 195

Toll 502+

#FarmersProtest

Maize

This time the Central government forced Direct Bank Transfer to pay farmers for wheat procurement. This was done to ostensibly keep Arthiyas (middle-men) out.

Though Panjab and Haryana expressed reservation, they were forced to comply. On ground, there was an acute shortage of bardana – gunny sacks which Central agencies regulate. Untimely rains compounded the misery and a lot of wheat was wasted. Yet, lapdog media has been mentioning how many crores disbursed etc.

Now it turns out that Centre has no Rural Development Fund for Panjab. This fund was earlier generated through taxes in Mandis. Also, in a state where 45% farming is tenacy, DBT causes issues for both small and marginal tenancy farmers as well as arthiyas who have invested in farmers and procurement systems.
This maize season, declared MSP is Rs 1850 per quintal. Farmers are getting between Rs 700 to Rs 800 – basically Rs 7-8 per kg. Does anyone of us who will pay Rs 50 to Rs 150 for a kg of makki ka atta have any answers?

But the Centre could not care less. It has an agenda to de-peasantize farmers and it is going ahead with it even though Farm Laws are not yet implemented. It is inflicting a million cuts even as farmers are resolved to oppose the final blow.

8
Jun

Farmers Protest: Vaccine

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 194

Toll 502+

#FarmersProtest

Vaccine

Right from the beginning of the protests, I have remembered a comment by a senior editor whom I respect a lot. A few years back, the editor had said: (I summarize) ‘Modi has never ever rolled back a decision, neither as CM and nor as PM. To Modi, rolling back a decision is akin to defeat and he cannot see himself losing.’

Now this is common knowledge – one of those myths around his personality.

What played out yesterday at 5 pm in front of the nation, and at Tohana, and before that at Hisar, has changed punctured that myth. Clearly, Modi has reversed his policy to let states participate in procuring vaccines. He announced universal vaccination for all those above 18 years, all across the nation. This is his first U-turn in public life so do not get distracted by his elaborate 33-minute charade on TV.

His decision is being seen in the light of many CMs, including Kerala, Andhra, Odisha, Bengal, Tamil Nadu and others opposing the Centre’s earlier policy which was basically to make states compete with each other as gladiators did in ancient Rome. Open suggestions by Opposition challenging the government’s stupidity, showing the government the correct path. It is also pressure from the Supreme Court that asked how does the government account for the Rs 35K crore budget allocation for vaccines. There is an international angle: how after intense internal criticism over its untimely vaccine diplomacy, India has blocked vaccine export to some 91 counties. All those pressures are correct.

Universal free vaccination is the way to go for India, but now none of us have a real idea how long will it take to vaccinate whole of India. If Modi delivers vaccines as he delivered oxygen, ventilators, beds and rations and jobs, then we are still going to be stuck with wave after wave of the virus while the world moves on. Though ideally, if universal vaccination is done proactively, it should be like polio and small-pox. It could be door-to-door and there is no need for an App like CoWin. But for all of that, along with staff and other resources, we need a steady vaccine supply. Let us see when that happens.

The point we are looking at is: why has Modi cultivated this myth of inflexible style of ruling and what are now the implications of its cracking? Obviously, this hard style attracts the attention, praise, and votes of those who consider him Hindutva’s messiah. It is essential to project him as a strong leader – one who gets things done. Though we know where we have reached in the last seven years, Modi’s charmed followers remain so brain-washed that they continue to believe in his uber-macho projection.

With Modi changing his stance on vaccination, a crack has emerged in this projection. While on the one hand it illustrates his desperation, it is up to us to seize the opening, the crack, and tear it open into a chasm. Notice the criticism now rising in his own ranks, in BJP. Especially, in Uttar Pradesh and his relations with Yogi. Winning UP next year is critical to BJP coming into power in 2024.

See this also in light of how in the last few weeks, farmers have twice prevailed upon the BJP government in Haryana: once at Hisar, another time yesterday at Tohana. While Haryana is Khattar government, it has Modi’s blessings.

On the vaccine front, what happened yesterday is a result of success of state leaders and us raising our voice and courts finally finding their spine. On the farmers front, there is a huge message for the whole country: unite and you can prevail upon BJP. Do not hide behind the excuse of a weak opposition. The states did not do that. They trounced BJP in elections and now took a stand against it. The farmers did not do that. Resolutely they stand opposed to Modi’s Farm Laws. Basically, stop waiting for someone to come and fight for your rights. Each of us needs to do pick our issues and unite to fight the pandemic of Hindutva mal-governance.

Opposing Modi’s wrong decisions is just as hard or easy as what happened yesterday. Our courage is our vaccine.

 

6
Jun

Farmers Protest: Toll crosses 500

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Punjab

The toll at the #FarmersProtest has crossed 500.

The longest continuous large protest since Independence has faced extreme weather conditions, the virus, but most of all government apathy.

It reminds me of the line all of us from Panjab learn as children. That is how we know our history. Yet, to see it play out as adults – with a minor name change – shows us how social systems change from to democracy, rulers change to leaders, but power and hegemony stays intact.

Thank you Anu Sandhu, Amar Mander, Jai Singh Sandhu. We have this number because of your constant and diligent efforts. Thank you Baljeet Kaur for help with translation.

Condolences and Salute!

6
Jun

Farmers Protest: JJP’s Babli Apologises

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 192

Toll 502

#FarmersProtest

JJP’s Babli Apologises

Late last night, JJP leader and MLA Devender Singh Babli, apologised to farmers for having abused them on June 1. The farmers had given him a deadline of June 7. This was the result of thousands of farmers gathering yesterday at Anaj Mandi in Tohana town of Fatehabad district and later carrying out a march in the town to reach Tohana police station to court arrest.

A panicked administration called for a meeting in which Babli spoke with Tikait, Chaduni, and other leaders and agreed to publicly apologise. (See video) The farmers have accepted the apology. However, the farmers protest is still on in Tohana police station to free two of their members kept under arrest by police.

After Hisar, this is the second farmer win against administration. The farmers now understand the game plan: administration provokes farmers with the intention of them getting violent, collecting in huge numbers, and staying confined to agitating within Haryana. This helps government contain the protests to the state instead of them being focussed on Delhi, especially Uttar Pradesh which will now be going to elections in six months.

The government won’t succeed. Huge numbers of farmers keep reaching the Delhi borders from Panjab. The two arrested farmers should be released today and farmers will stay focussed on Delhi. The government better learn that these small-time games won’t work. It will have to relent.

5
Jun

Farmers Protest: Hemkunt Foundation

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 191

Toll 494+

#FarmersProtest

Hemkunt Foundation

We all know the yeoman service the NGO Hemkunt Foundation provided during the peak COVID-19 crises a few weeks back. Through their drive through oxygen service and oxygen cylinders, concentrators, ventilators to those in need, the Foundation filled an extremely critical gap in the National Capital Region’s health infrastructure. They saved thousands of lives.

Two nights back we heard local goons had attacked the Foundation’s temporary premises in Sector 61 Gurugram/Gurgaon. The premises was ransacked, tents torn down. The attack was inexplicable: why is this NGO which served people without distinction of class or creed being attacked?

Now it is revealed that the reason was that during the crises, the NGO had quickly sought land to set up their premises. The land belonged to a Jannayak Janata Party leader. Yes, the same JJP which fought elections against the BJP, won on Jat votes, then betrayed their constituency and supported the BJP to form the government in Haryana.

The violence trail is so clear. The ones in power, the ones supposed to serve people, do not like the ones who actually serve people. The original agreement was the land was leased for 2 months. That period is over. The tent house operator has alleged that the NGO used the land as a warehouse and was allegedly contributing ration to the protesting farmers. The farmers are not only protesting for over six months, they also provided oxygen and COVID-19 medicines during the crises. Once again this shows the pettiness of those in power, those who own the land.

Over Twitter, the NGO’s community development director, Harteerath Singh has issued an appeal seeking 20,000 sq ft land at or near the Gurugram City Centre to set up a new COVID-19 centre. The pandemic might seem to ebb for now but a third wave is coming and without enough vaccines – due to government bungling – we are not yet past the crises. This time, may a large-hearted land owner come forward.

Meanwhile, today the farmers are marking the Sampoorna Kranti Diwas by burning the Farm Laws outside the offices and homes of leaders of the BJP and allied parties.

Dear Friends,

On June 1 evening, I was pleased to speak at the Lyallpur Young Historians Club with Tohid Chattha and Khola Cheema on the completion of six months of the #FarmersProtest, the raging second wave of the pandemic, and their implications for India.

Please see here …

3
Jun

Farmers Protest: Devender Babli

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 189

Toll 494+

#FarmersProtest

Devender Babli

On June 1, Devender Singh Babli of the Jananayak Janata Party elected from Tohana, Haryana insulted farmers on camera. JJP is the party that fought against BJP in the Haryana elections, won through Jat votes, and later jumped into BJP’s lap to form the government in Haryana.

Over this betrayal of votes, the JJP not withdrawing support to BJP over Farm Laws and not letting the government fall, the Haryana farmers’ ire towards JJP is acute. They have told all BJP and especially JJP legislatures to not appear in public.

Yet, Babli was on the roads in Tohana when ordinary people, including farmers spotted him and sloganeered against him.

Babli first claimed that farmers had hit his car with stones. There is no scratch or dent on the car. Then Babli got off the car and called the farmers ‘Behanc**d, H***mzade, Ku**e.’

This the culture of our public officer bearers, our leaders. When farmers objected, last evening, Fatehabad police caned and arrested around 50 farmers, including women.

The farmers have now decided that on 7th June, from 11 am to 1 pm, all police stations of Haryana will be gheraoed. If the cases registered against the farmers are not withdrawn and the MLA Babli does not apologize even by the 7th June, then on June 11 and 12, farmers will strongly protest in Tohana region.

The Haryana government, the JJP, the BJP has its comeuppance at the hands of farmers. Remember Hisar a few days back? The administration and BJP government was forced to retreat, withdraw cases.

The same will happen here.

Video: Kisan Ekta Morcha, see here …

2
Jun

Farmers Protest: Common Adversary

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Punjab

Day 188

Toll 494

#FarmersProtest

Common Adversary

A particular feature of the right-wing government is that it never governs through dialogue but rules through police and intelligence agencies, paid for by the tax payer. Of course, Hindutva has its own cadre of goons too but those are cowards.

But for their salary, the jawan who is compelled by the current government to stand against the kisan is also equally suffering the apathy of the regime. This is illustrated by the storm on May 31st night at Singhu border.

The strong winds and heavy rain did not spare the police encampments. They too came down along with farmer camps. While the government provided no aid, next day, farmers and police together repaired their broken habitations.

Both these videos show that. One, the Panjabi one, shows the devastation. The other, the Hindi one, shows the effort to bring down broken structures so that can be put up again. The Panjabi one says, ‘The government is unaffected. The need is for the whole country to unite against these arrogant rulers.’

The way the institutions of the nation, even vaccines and healthcare is being privatised, the day is not far when police will also be turned into low paid, private militias. Those on the ground now understand this.

Videos: Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee. See here …

31
May

Farmers Protest: June 5th

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 186

Toll 491+

#FarmersProtest

June 5th

Call it serendipity, I call it irony. June 5th is World Environment Day. It is also the day when in 1974, Jayaprakash Narayan had declared Sampoorn Kranti and launched a mass movement against the central government. Last year, on 5th June, the government presented the anti-farmer policies as Ordinances. Later in September 2020, the Ordinances became Bills and then were bulldozed through the Parliament and Laws.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has decided to mark June 5 as Sampoorna Kranti Divas. SKM appeals to citizens to extend their support and actively participate in the farmers movement – burn copies of three agricultural laws in front of offices of BJP MPs, MLAs and Representatives.
Meanwhile, three days back, in Paris the French police pepper sprayed farmers protesting against the new European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The protests against the EU CAP have been going on for months now. Farmers say the policies will impact the agriculture sector adversely, depeasantize the farmers, and place the sector under risk. In November 2018, the government voted in the EGAlim Law which supposedly improves trade relations balance in the agricultural sector and ensures healthy and sustainable diet.

Does that sound familiar?

Two days back, tens of thousands of people in Brazil staged another day of protest against President Jair Bolsonaro, in particular for his chaotic handling of the pandemic. In downtown Rio de Janeiro, protesters were chanting ‘Go away Bolsovirus’. Similar rallies were held in other major cities, the latest in a wave of anger against Bolsonaro that began months ago. People are infuriated with lockdown measures, ineffective medications, and government and failing to anticipate oxygen shortages that left patients to suffocate. One of the themes of the rally Saturday was how many lives might have been saved if the Bolsonaro government had started Brazil’s vaccination drive earlier.

Does that sound familiar?

While French farmers are doing what Indian farmers are doing, are Indians doing what Brazilians are doing? The date is June 5th. Show solidarity!