Archive for June, 2021


Farmers Protest: 19-21

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 213

Toll 523+



Unni-Ikki they say in Panjab about a small miss. In Hindi it would be Unees-Ikkis ka farak. The history of the world is full of major battles lost due to small misses, for example Agincourt or Waterloo.

Take protests: massive protests before World War I did not prevent the war from taking place. The Farmers Protest in Brussels 2009 with tractors and cows did not move the European Union. The protests in Japan against nuclear Power Plants did not change government opinion and it has recently re-commissioned the Fukushima plant. Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have not moved Chinese authorities. Occupy Wall Street, that began in 2011, has informed millions of people about the shocking inequalities but not led to policy change.

All these protests have been valiant, they have our solidarity, some of them are still ongoing, but have been inconclusive in term of results because at some point their leadership could not penetrate the regimes against which they stood. The Farmers Protest in India is in such a phase now.

Yesterday’s ‘Save Agriculture, Save Democracy’ marches show in some states the Governors were even unwilling to accept a letter to the President. While in Uttar Pradesh and Bengal the people demonstrated and the Governor accepted the letters, in Karnataka where we have a chief minister whose lifelong claim is he is pro-farmers, the police unnecessarily stopped the protesters. In Delhi, Rakesh Tikait had to go live in the evening and then the Lieutenant Governor accepted the letter virtually.

Yet, the worst was in Chandigarh, capital to Haryana and Panjab. What were all those barricades about? Why did the farmers from the two states have to break barricades from two ends of town – Panchkula and Mohali? Why is the government so scared?

The reason to submit the letter to the Governor shows that since the elected national government has discredited itself by not talking to farmers for five long months, but we are still a democracy and the Governor to President is a valid channel to approach, the farmers had decided to approach the Governors. Why then did the Governors and police stop the farmers from approaching? Is it because City Beautiful will be spoilt by rural India coming into it?

Yet, the farmers braved water canons, broke barricades, proceeded to meet the Governors. Despite thousands of farmers and police, though there were small skirmishes, there was no major violence. Yet, what transpired on the Panjab side at the Sector 9-17 crossing between Samyukt Kisan Morcha leaders and Chandigarh SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal was revealing.

SKM leaders were pushing to move ahead on the remaining 2.5 kilometres to the Governor’s House. The SSP said, ‘Some of your cadre has gone ahead, call them back…’

SKM said, ‘No, no, they are just youth. They are not with us.’

SSP said, ‘How can you say that? They have come with you, they came on your call. Call them back, get together, we shall make provision for a delegation to meet the Governor.’

The situation was getting aggressive. The SSP remained calm but SKM was unable to call the protesters back. Finally, in a hurry, Rajewal stood on top of a car with letter in hand, showed it to all gathered. Then he handed over the letter to the SSP. Similarly, Haryana farmers also handed the letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh Mandeep Singh Brar.

All this drama, the thousands who reached the venues, the barricades that were broken, the march of the people, just to hand over the letter to the SSP and DC?

Kabir, the Bhakti poet, concludes a song on meditation by saying: jeet nishan ghuraunga – I shall spin victory on its mark. This not being able to hand the letter to the Governors is the unni-ikki difference, the small lapse. It marks how the SKM leaders approach the protests: the disowning youth ‘not with us’ is a standard feature now since the incidents of January 26th.

The reason behind this is the divide in Panjab between what is generally called the Left vs Sikh factions. The divide is more in the mind, more in discourses and labels, than on ground. But it persists.

As the protests strengthen once again, as UP and Panjab elections approach near, the SKM must resolve these differences proactively and make sure it achieves what it sets out to do in each event it outlines. In this case, handing letters to Governors. Notice, SKM launched its march to Chandigarh yesterday from Gurdwaras Nada Sahib and Amb Sahib. Else any SSP or the state will ask: the youth came with you, came on your call, how can you say they are not with you?

The disowning approach has to stop. Only then will the SKM be able to spin victories on the mark. Only then will unni-ikki be resolved. The vision has to be 20/20.


Farmers Protest: Ghazipur Festival of Democracy

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Posted on June 25, 2021

Toll 520+


Ghazipur Festival of Democracy

Last night was a festival of democracy at Ghazipur border. Thousands of farmers, including women from Haryana, have arrived from Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Saharanpur and other places. Enroute, the advancing farmers made the Uttar Pradesh toll plazas free.

‘We had asked you to turn the tractors towards Delhi. But look at you, you have reached Delhi!’

On the 46th anniversary of imposition of Emergency, the farmers are marking the day as the ‘Save Agriculture, Save Democracy’. The gatherings to gherao the Governors are taking place at every state capital today at 11.30 am. Chandigarh has sealed 13 entries into the city. Oh my! How silly can the government act!

Also see Tikait interview in first comment where he says, ‘But where is the government? The government has disappeared since January 22nd.’

I agree, as we saw even during the pandemic second wave and now when government says Delhi exaggerated the demand for Oxygen by 4 times. Not even an acknowledgement of the tragedy, the deaths.



Farmers Protest: Memorandum to the President

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Posted on June 25, 2021

Day 211

Toll 520+


Text of the open letter to be submitted to Governors of all States and Union Territories tomorrow, June 26th which the by Samyukt Kisan Morcha is marking as the ‘Save Agriculture, Save Democracy’ day.


Memorandum to the President about Farmers’ Anguish and Indignation

Date: 26th June 2021

Shri Ramnath Kovind
President, Republic of India
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi.

Through: Hon’ble Governor, _____ State/Union Territory

Sub: Save Agriculture, Save Democracy – Regarding getting 3 anti-farmer laws repealed, and to get a legal guarantee of MSP for farmers

Respected Sir,

We, the farmers of India, are writing this letter to you, the head of the nation, with deep anguish and indignation. Today on 26th June, upon the completion of seven months of our continuous protests at Delhi’s borders, and on the 47th anniversary of Emergency in this country, we are writing to you from all parts of India about the twin challenge of saving our agriculture and saving our democracy.

The Indian society calls us farmers as Annadaatas. In the past 74 years, we put in a lot of hard work as always, and did not leave any stone unturned to make sure that we fulfil our responsibility. When India became independent, we used to feed 33 crore citizens in the country; today, in about the same extent of land, we manage to feed around 140 crore Indians. During the Coronavirus Pandemic, while the other sectors in the economy decelerated and slumped, we achieved record production in agriculture, ensured that our granaries were over-flowing and did so risking our own lives.

However, in return for this kind of service that we provided to the entire country, the Government of India which runs on your seal of assent, thrust on us three anti-farmer black laws which will destroy our farming as well as our future generations, laws that will snatch agriculture from our hands and hand over to big corporations. Moreover, other swords were also hung on our heads – penalties and jail terms for stubble burning in a new ordinance related to Delhi’s air pollution, and subsidy withdrawal through the Electricity Amendments Bill 2020.

The three central farm laws are unconstitutional, because the Union Government has no authority to make legislation in the area of (agricultural) Markets. These legislations are also undemocratic. Before creating such laws, no consultations and dialogues were held with farmers. Without being asked for and without proper reason, these were brought in covertly in the form of Ordinances. The Bills after being tabled in the Parliament were not sent to Committees for further study and debates. While pushing these Bills in the Parliament, voting by division was not allowed in Rajya Sabha. We had hoped that as the first guardian of our Constitution created by Babasaheb and others, you would refuse to give your assent to such unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-farmer laws. However, you did not refuse.

You are aware that we are not asking for any charity from the government; we are only asking for just and remunerative returns for our hard work and toil. Because of the enormous exploitation and looting that is done of farmers when it comes to prices for our produce, farming has become an unviable profession for us. We are in deep debt, and in the past 30 years, more than 4 lakh farmers were compelled to take their own lives in a continuing spate of farm suicides. That is the reason why we are demanding that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) has to be fixed using the Swaminathan Commission formula of C2 cost+50%, and that such an MSP has to be guaranteed for all farmers in a legal framework. Instead of fulfilling its promises and commitments on this front, the Government of India started a false jumla around ‘doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022’ which is clearly not being achieved, and made you state the same in your speeches, bringing down the dignity of your esteemed position.

Respected Sir, in the past seven months, to destroy the farmers’ agitation, the Government of India broke the principles and rules of democracy in every possible way. To welcome farmers who were moving towards the nation’s capital to get their grievances and demands heard and addressed, this government put boulders, sand trucks, barbed fencing and barricades in our way. It dug trenches on the roads and put in nails on the highways. It tear-gassed farmers, water-cannoned them and slapped false cases on them. Several were sent to jail. Instead of listening to the mann ki baat of farmers, the government only listened to the lure of staying in power. Dishonest and fake conversations and dialogues were held. The agitation was sought to be destroyed through non-existent farmer unions. The protesting farmers were sometimes labelled as agents, sometimes as terrorists, at other times as Khalistanis or Parasites or Corona Super-spreaders. By manipulating media, there were constant attempts at defaming and denigrating the movement. Those who were raising their voices in support of farmers found that the government was placing curbs on social media to stifle their voices and to even lodge cases against them. Around 520 of our protestors have been martyred so far. Sir, you would have seen and heard about all these things, but you had remained a mute spectator.

In the past seven months, what we witnessed and experienced first hand reminds us of the Emergency period 46 years ago. Today, it is not just the farmers’ movement that is facing repression, but the movements of workers, youth & students, women, minority communities, dalits as well as Adivasis. As in the time of the Emergency back then, many true patriots have been put into prisons. Draconian laws like UAPA are being misused against ones who are resisting the authoritarian regime. Media is shrouded in fear and favouritism. Judiciary’s freedom is under attack. Human rights are being violated routinely. Without declaring an Emergency, democracy is being throttled every day. In this context, as the main custodian of our constitutional framework, there is a great responsibility on you, President Sir.

Against this background, today, through this memorandum being submitted to you, we bring to you the anguish and deep anger of crores of farming families of the country. We hope that you will direct the Union Government to immediately accept the legitimate demands of the farmers’ movement, repeal the three anti-farmer laws and to enact a law that will guarantee remunerative MSP at C2+50% for all farmers.

Respected President Sir, the historical farmers’ movement being led by Samyukt Kisan Morcha is not only a movement to save farming and farmers of the country, but also democracy of our country. We hope that in this sacred mission of ours, we will get your full support because you had taken an oath which is not about saving the government, but an oath to save the Constitution of India.

Jai Kisan, Jai Hind!

We, the People of India, Ones who Feed the Nation and Keep Everyone Alive, the Annadaatas:


(Samyukt Kisan Morcha)


Farmers Protest: Tank, Tractor, Twitter

   Posted by: aman    in Other, Punjab

Day 210

Toll 520+


Tank, Tractor, Twitter

Last few days, Rakesh Tikait, did a Modi on the media when he uttered the triple Ts: Tank, Tractor, Twitter. Given his own surname starting with T, it becomes four Ts. I have been hearing him say this since he was touring Gujarat in April but our duh! lapdog media. They wake up now as Uttar Pradesh state elections are nearing.

In all his statements, Tikait is clear that the farmers will challenge the BJP in at least west Uttar Pradesh and try to enhance their reach all over the state. They will not be contesting elections but will make their anguish against BJP – its betrayal to the farmer’s issues, causing economy to fail, lies on employment, mis-management of COVID-19 – heard across the state. The Opposition parties need to wake up to the opportunity. Similarly, the AAP rumour about Balbir Singh Rajewal as Panjab CM candidate is completely unfounded.

Tikait is also quite clear: the protests will last until the government repeals the Farm Laws and legalises MSP. If that takes up to 2024, then so be it. The farmers will continue to maintain pressure. Like at Singhu and Tikri, thousands of farmers have started arriving at Ghazipur border. They are doing so as per the area and date wise roster attached.

At Tikri, considering the damage past storms and rains have wreaked on the state at the Ghadri Gulab Kaur Nagar, BKU Ekta Ugrahan is now building a strong roof and pillar structure. The enclosed area will be 10,000 square feet. It will protect them from the heat hovering around 43-degree Celsius and the monsoon rains.

Pictures: Kisan Ekta Morcha and BKU Ekta Ugrahan, see here…


Farmers Protest: Rana ji

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 209

Toll 520+


Rana ji

Even I am bored of calling out the government’s apathy but there are stories from the protest that must be recorded for posterity. I just try to record some of the thousands of stories transpiring every day – stories of solidarity and resistance.

The latest is government harassing a dhaba owner who has been supporting the protests since they began. Ram Singh Rana ji has two dhaba’s, both by the name Golden Hut on National Highway 44. One is at Sonipat another at Kurukshetra. Both are very popular with travellers, especially Panjabis going to the Delhi airport.

When protests started, Rana ji turned his Sonipat dhaba into a free service centre. He started langar of water, milk and 25 kg wheat flour packets free to protesters. This free langar to protesters has been critical through the past seven months and has been possible by Rana foregoing huge profits.

For some weeks now the government has been issuing notices to Rana over his social service. The services continued unabated. The day before the government blocked access to Rana’s dhaba in Kurukshetra by placing stones barriers. Golden Hut, Kurukshetra has been Rana’s only source of income last few months.

What does this tell us about the government? That even those doing social service will be prosecuted. This has happened earlier with individuals, arthiyas, farmer leaders who have been booked under various charges. The government, elected to serve the people cannot even talk to protesters but is blocking even those from our society who serve society – who perform sewa.

The farmers stand with Ram Singh Rana. They will stand by all those who have stood by them in the past seven months. The police says it will close all the dhabas on the highway. If the government does that, all hotel and dhaba owners will protest.

As of now, only Rana’s dhaba has been blocked, Rana seems to be singled out for performing sewa. BKU leader Balbir Singh Chaduni leader has announced the Samyukt Kisan Morcha KM look into the matter and if the government does not remove the blockades, the farmers will remove them. No one can stop sewa.

Update: SKM leaders met at Golden Hut dhaba and have issued a notice to government and NHAI to remove barricades (white stones in picture) by July 2, else the farmers will take strict action such as blocking the whole highway, jamming the traffic.


Farmers Protest: Deewar

   Posted by: aman    in Other, Punjab

Day 208

Toll 518+



Across the wall of government apathy around the farmers protest, stand the central leadership and the farmers. They do not dialogue because the elected leaders have not talked for 5 months.

Leader: I am just a phone call away. You do not know how the path you have chosen to walk on will end.

Farmers: we know our path could end in our loss but the path you have chosen will certainly harm all of us.

Leader: I am a fakir. I have played my game. I do not care if I lose or win. But you have time, you have other options, try something else.

Farmer: No, our principles, our rules of engagement do not permit us to walk away.

Leader: Uff! Your principles! What use are your principles? You sit in cold, you stand in rain, you suffer in heat and storms. What have your principles given you? A small land holding, so much loan…

Look at me, look. This is me, that is you. We started together: I selling tea, you farming land. See where you are left behind, see where I have reached. Today I have the army, the police, the courts, the corporates, the banks, the parliament, the policies, what do you have?

Farmer: we have courage, resolve and food.

(adapted from movie Deewar)

Note: Along with 50 trolleys of wheat that reached Singhu yesterday, since young men had to go back for paddy sowing, thousands of elderly have reached Tikri today. The game the fakir has played is on.



Farmers Protest: Petty Tricks

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 207

Toll 518+


Petty Tricks

The protest site at Singhu, police station Kundali, is on national highway 44. For the last seven months now, the site has forced traffic to Delhi to take alternate routes to come and get out of Delhi. One such crossing on the alternate route also crosses through the protest site which itself extends 7+ kilometers to Badh Khlasa and beyond.

The habitations next to the road comprise shopkeepers, businesses and labour settlements for there are many factories along the road. These folks, through directly impacted by the protest have never really had cause to complain. The reason is the protesters take their consent for their activities, have been running langars where the neighbours join, have even been running makeshift schools for children from the settlements.

During recent COVID19 second wave, farmers provided oxygen and medicines to their neighbours. When government struck down Internet, the neighbours put up their WiFi networks passwords for free use. It is a symbiotic relationship.

But that can’t be said for the villages at a short distance from the main road. Though many of those villagers have helped the protests with unending supply of milk and fresh vegetables, there are also groups in those villages which the right-wing plays against the protesters.

One such gathering took place yesterday at Sersa village. The mahapanchayat was held under the banner of Rashtrwadi Ekta Manch. They have now projected that they are distressed by the protests, especially the blocked road, and have demanded one side of the road be opened. During the recent COVID19 crises, to enable oxygen supply, the protesters had opened one side of the road.

Whether the two sides – so called distressed villagers and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha – reach an agreement or not is yet to be seen, one aspect is absolutely clear: the government is not interested in talks with the SKM. The government is trying every petty trick to keep attacking the protest but will not do that one thing to end the protests – talk.

My hunch is, these propped up protesters will not be able to match the stamina and resilience of the farmers on protests. They will tire soon. Yesterday, some farmers protesting against CM Khattar in Morni, Panchkula were arrested and released by evening. Just another tactic to wear out the protesters instead of talking to them or repealing the Laws. What a pathetic display of arrogance and inversion of democracy.


Farmers Protest: Hul Kranti Diwas

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 206

Toll 518+


Hul Kranti Diwas

The pandemic second wave set back to the momentum building in rest of India against the Farm Laws. Before the slowdown in April, the Samyukth Kisan Morcha leaders had been able to contact farmers in Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh. Southern states Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala had expressed solidarity.

Now that the pandemic peak is behind us, this unity is again being reinforced. One of the most important and threatened people of India are its tribal populations. SKM has decided to observe ‘Hul Kranti Diwas’ on 30 June at all borders. Members from tribal areas will be invited at dharna sites on that day.

SKM has also extended its full support to the tribal of village Silger on the border of Sukama and Bijapur districts, who are fighting against government’s decision to establish a CRPF camp in the area. This land comes under the 5th Schedule of the Constitution and the land is being taken over without any referral/decision of the Gram Sabhas.

SKM has condemned the police firing on protesting tribal on May 17 in which 3 tribal died on the spot, one pregnant lady tribal died later; 18 were injured and 10 are missing.

Meanwhile, more incidents of resistance keep coming up in Haryana and Panjab. While in Haryana the farmers protest BJP and ally JJP, in Panjab farmers are gheraoing Congress and demanding accountability. This rise of political consciousness is the result of the farmers protest. It will only intensify from here on. The farmers’ moves in Uttar Pradesh will make the government lose its sleep.


Farmers Protest: Ablaze

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 205

Toll 518



A man has died from burn injuries at the Tikri border protest site. The 42-year-old person from Kasar village, Jhajjar district, Haryana has been identified as Mukesh Kumar.

Accusations and explanations are flying whether it was self-immolation or murder. There are two videos, one in which he says he self-immolated himself, in another he accuses others of targeting him. There is some evidence of him having bought petrol, having a liquor bottle in his pocket, but only a thorough investigation will reveal the truth. The police have arrested one accused.

This is the third death at the protests, two earlier ones took place in March and April. This is indeed sad. This is not what the protestors came here to do. Yet, this is our society, crime happens. Crime must be checked but in this case, I believe, we can not blame the protesters or unions for the events.

This is a law and order issue. This is an issue of the extended protests. The government is responsible for protests extending, for them no longer even conducting talks, for them actually allowing such incidents to occur which demoralise the protestors.

At the protests sites, the government is playing the war of attrition. In Haryana, the government is playing the war of distraction. All this to prevent momentum from building up in western UP which goes to elections in six months.

To say farmers lit up the man to create martyrs is not only facile but insidious. Just look up the toll above to see how many martyrs have already been created. The farmers do not need to create another one.


Farmers Protest: June 26

   Posted by: aman    in Other, Punjab

Day 203

Toll 513+


June 26

As the seventh month anniversary of the protests is approaching, and the government remains apathetic, the Samyukth Kisan Morcha has decided to mark June 26 as – Save Democracy, Save Farmers Day. It was on this day, in 1975, that the Indira Gandhi government implemented Emergency.

The fact is, while it is not declared, since Demonetisation, our nation has been in a state of undeclared Emergency. On June 26, this year, the farmers will give gherao all Raj Bhavans across the country and give memorandums to the respective Governors addressed to the President against the Farm Laws.

Meanwhile, with farmers having to return to sow paddy, the women have once again taken up the gauntlet to keep the vigil on the borders. They have been arriving in huge numbers. Here are two short videos of women and men protesting a few days back when the theme was: free the intellectuals.

Click here to see videos by Randeep S Maddoke