Archive for October, 2021


Farmers Protest: Panjab

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Day 322

Toll 638


Border State watchers: BJP need not fight elections in Panjab.

Panjab’s area is 50,362 square km

Panjab has 553 km border with Pakistan.

To checkmate ex CM Amarinder Singh’s national security narrative, new CM Channi asked Central Home Minister to increase central security forces to stop drugs and arms smuggling. As a result, central security forces now are free to penetrate 50 km inland.

Now, do your math. 553 km x 50 km = over 25,000 km

That means half the state in under central security forces. Which means the Centre rules half of Panjab.

Do you feel the pain of constant police surveillance?

Note: just blocked a national security apologist and deleted his comments. If anyone has to retort, answer three questions:

a) Why abrogating Article 370 did not stop militancy in Kashmir?

b) Why China has made repeated incursions into their side of the border and what has India done to stop those?

c) Please re-locate to Panjab border. I will facilitate that. Then we can talk.
Picture: Internet.

PS: for the record now Channi is opposing the Centre’s move. The decision affects West Bengal, Assam, Tripura as well.

The recent take over of half of Panjab by security forces is a repeat of a three millennia long history. Panjab has been and remains a casualty of geography, a casualty of history, a casualty of politics.

It is Panjab’s fate.

tak patree waleya lekh mere
mere hath wich wingian leekan ne

mere dil da mehram aawega
ya halle hor udeekan ne

lakh waar duavan mangiyan ne
kai waar baharan langiyan ne

mainu puch ke das taqdeeran ton
aje kiniyan door tareekan ne

mere rona rabb manzoor kare
meri zaat nu eho udeekan ne

see my hand o reader of palms
the lines on my hands are crooked.

will the one who soothes my heart come?
or is there a wait still?

a million times I have prayed
a million times spring has passed.

ask my fate and tell me
still how far are the dates?

may God accept my tears
my kind only wait for that.

No, no one in mainland India gets Panjab. Some try, but they can’t. For they have not endured Panjab’s tragedy on their bodies.

So, please, keep the dignity. No ‘national security’ remarks here please.

Reshma here …


Farmers Protest: Light

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 321

Toll 637


Yesterday’s Antim Ardas, final prayers, at Lakhimpur Kheri were dignified and solemn. Over 50,000 people from far and wide, from all religions and castes attended. A few politicians also came, payed respect, but as decided did not share the stage. The proceedings were absolutely peaceful.

This peace, this non-violence the farmers protests has exemplified on every major call in the last year – be it Rail Roko, Rasta Roko, Bharat Bandh, huge Mahapanchayats, even angry gatherings in response to police and administration atrocities at many places in Haryana, or now in Lakhimpur Kheri have left the ruling dispensation incapable of curbing the protests. As the protests near 11 months, I feel, the message of peaceful resistance has gone out to the nation.

That is why, like earlier, even yesterday, there were many candle light marches all over the country. It is interesting that when the PM asked folks to light lamps to drive away Coronavirus, the media covered it widely. This time, the mainstream media is silent. Both the ruling party and the mainstream media seem to be completely out of touch with the mood of the people.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has severely condemned the Delhi Police’s sexual assault on women students demanding MoS Home Ajay Mishra Teni’s resignation in front of Home Minister’s house. SKM also condemns the FIRs registered against five Benares Hindu University students who were protesting against the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre.

The Delhi student protestors have stated that ‘these were not isolated acts committed by some rogue Delhi Police personnel. The manner in which the violence was meted out identically to both women, shows that the women personnel have received training and instructions to treat women protestors in this fashion ‘to show them their place’.

The candle light that shone in various parts of the country and in many individual homes tells me that soon it will be the government, the mainstream media and the police which will be shown its place in the country. May this light in our hearts remove the darkness in which we seem engulfed under the present dispensation.

See pictures here …


Farmers Protest: Antim Ardas

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 320

Toll 637

Antim Ardas starts for Lakhimpur Kheri martyrs.

As fitting, Kabir is being sung: ‘soora so pehchaniye …’

‘The brave is recognised …’

A huge tent to accommodate thousands has come up overnight 500 meters from the site of killings. Farmers have wilfully cleared their fields to set up the tent and create parking space. Police has put up barricades, they are video graphing attendees, but nothing will stop the tsunami of people coming up to pay homage. Modi has no idea who he provoked with the Farm Laws.

Source: tractor2twitter

See clip here …


Farmers Protest: Bandh

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 319

Toll 635


Today the Maharashtra government has called for a Bandh in support of the Lakhimpur Kheri farmers massacre. This Bandh tells us how the massacre has drawn battle lines for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections. Rashtriya Lok Dal, Samajvadi party, Congress, Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress are all rising against the BJP. Yet, personally, I do not trust political parties. May they score against BJP, but for them the agenda is different than for people’s movement.

For the arrest of Ashish Mishra Monu and accomplices, at least two names are known Ankit Das and Sumit Jaiswal, resignation and arrest of union MoS Home Ajay Mishra Teni, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha had given today’s deadline to Government of India and Government of Uttar Pradesh. The UP Government’s SIT arresting Ashish Mishra Teni on grounds of non-cooperation with investigation into the massacre, and for evasive replies is under 160CrPC (witnesses) not murder (302 CrPc).

Yesterday, a ‘Chetavani Rally’ in Barnala, Punjab, organised by BKU Ekta Siddhupur with participation of several SKM leaders, saw a massive turnout of farmers. Picture below.

The program for next few days:

- October 12th: Antim Ardas for slain farmers and journalist will be marked as Shaheed Kisan Diwas. Shradhanjali sabha, homage meetings will be held in many states. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and others have confirmed participation.

All India Shaheed Kisan Kalash Yatra with the remains of martyred farmers to start from Lakhimpur Kheri and travel all states and districts across the country.

- October 15th: Dussehra, Modi, Shah and third according to local situation effigies to be burnt all over the country.

- October 18th: Rail Roko all over the country.

- October 26th: Kisan Mahapanchayat in Lucknow.

On the other hand, paddy procurement has not commenced as expected despite the Union Government’s acceptance of SKM’s demand on October 2nd. This applies to Rajasthan also, where the FCI has agreed to procure from Hanumangarh and Sriganganagar. Bajra procurement should also commence in Rajasthan and Haryana immediately. Crop loss compensation for cotton farmers who have incurred losses due to pink bollworm damage be paid out immediately in Punjab and Haryana without any further delay.

The ground is growling in anger. We must ensure that if we lend support to political parties, it should be for the farmer and labour agenda rather than for their own myopic power gains.

Link to picture here


Farmers Protest: Lakhimpur Reflections

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 316

Toll 632

Lakhimpur Reflections

Much to the Sangh’s chagrin, two big public movements in the last decade produced two unintended figures. The India Against Corruption produced Arvind Kejriwal who has kept power in Delhi through last three elections, denying BJP power. The farmers protest produced Rakesh Tikait who kept the movement afloat after BJP’s assault on January 26th. Both of them are complex and unpredictable characters and do not inspire our natural trust. We all have positive or negative opinions on both of them. There is a role the media has played in projecting them. To me, both of them are unintended outcomes of the Sangh’s manoeuvres. I think we need to see the recent Lakhimpur murders – terrorist attack according to international definitions – keeping this in mind.

1. In the last 10+ months farmers’ protest, at each stage where they managed to negotiate with the state, mostly Haryana, each negotiation took a few days. Farmers needed to gherao police stations, deputy commissioner’s office, go on hunger strike until death and so on. So the question is: how did Lakhimpur reach a settlement so quickly?

Was it to checkmate Samyukt Kisan Morcha? I suspect, like earlier, SKM must not have expected early resolution. It did not allow SKM enough time to re-configure its demands, including of MoS Home Ajay Mishra Teni’s arrest. The night was tense with four dead bodies, around 25,000 angry crowd. We can only guess what that kind of pressure would have meant.

2. Did Tikait alone negotiate the compensation and FIRs against Ashish Kumar Monu and friends? It is true Tikait was the most popular leader to reach Lakhimpur and SKM needs to answer why only Charuni was arrested on the way to Lakhimpur? Burj Gill stopped? Where were other leaders? Is meekly saying ‘we were stopped’ enough? When you expect farmers to reach rallies, why could you not find alternate routes? But we must also notice that Ruldu Singh Mansa, Suresh Kauth had reached Lakhimpur. Local leaders Richa Singh and Guramneet Singh Mangat was present. In two days, before others, by changing his appearance, Charuni reached Lakhimpur.

3. When we say leaders were not allowed to enter Lakhimpur, orders were issued that no one from Panjab can enter Lakhimpur, we need to acknowledge that no doubt Gandhis and Akhilesh Yadav are recognisable faces but Jayanth Chaudhary from Rashtriya Janata Dal and Trinamool Congress leaders sneaked into Lakhimpur. Journalists like Mandeep Punia and Sandeep Singh, film makers like Nakul Sawhney sneaked in like many other reporters. I think it is question of who was quick on uptake and who was interested in optics. Certainly, the Gandhis need not have posted videos of sweeping rooms. That is calling attention to self rather than issue at hand.

4. Tikait being played up as sole leader to negotiate deal at Lakhimpur and then being exposed next day by Indian Express is to me part of BJP’s well known tactic: use and throw. It is a planted story. Just that once again it did not work. This does not mean there are no issues with Tikait inside Uttar Pradesh Samyukt Kisan Morcha. These wrinkles must be ironed out but once again, like earlier, BJP’s move did not work.

5. We know there is a struggle between Modi and Yogi. We know BJP excels in creating well-managed micro riots which it can use for propaganda. We know the regime is very rattled by the farmers’ UP Mission. I think all of this has a bearing on how BJP targeted farmers in general, and Sikhs in particular – to exploit the community and caste lines across which the farmers’ protest is built. If the Centre tried to undercut Yogi by creating Lakhimpur. Yogi checkmated not only SKM but also Centre by agreeing to demands. Yet, he has not succeeded.

As of now, SKM has given government time until October 12th (end of final rights of slain farmers) to arrest Monu, Sumit Jaiswal, Ankit Das and other accomplices involved in the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre and remove Teni from ministership. Monu has not obeyed the state summons to present himself by today morning.

Overall, now on day 5, I have a sense SKM managed to deflect assault. Political parties are up in arms for Teni and Monu’s arrest. The farmers protest has now moved to east UP which, if successful, could be BJP’s waterloo in UP. The Supreme Court has taken suo moto cognisance of the Lakhimpur incident. We have innocents killed in Kashmir. We have had a superstar’s son arrested over drugs which is fast proving to be a fake case. All of this is meant to distract us, not allow us to think, ask questions, keep the pressure on the government.

My only suggestion: from whatever happens, we need to draw conclusions without giving in to Sangh’s game plan.


Farmers Protest: Us

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 314

Toll 628


Though living in current India is a constant reminder, it is when the farmers protest began that the year 1984 started haunting me again. My mind would project horror scenarios. I would be scared to fall asleep lest I dream worse happenings. I wonder if that happens to you. I wonder if that has now – after Lakhimpur Khedi killings – started happening to you. At the core of all those nightmares is the brazen, unlawful, brutality of the state, and its apathy to acknowledge and address the situation on the ground.

It has been three days since MoS Home Ajay Mishra Teni’s son mowed down and crushed farmers. Allegedly he shot and killed one farmer. Yet, we continue to live as if life is normal. While victim families, farmers, Samyukt Kisan Morcha and some political parties are raising the demand to sack the minister, arrest him, his son and accomplices, there is overall a deafening silence by the society.

Remember the lynchings? Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, others? Now the mode of violence has shifted to vehicles but the impetus remains the same – impunity. ‘Jaante nahin mera Baap kaun hai?’; ‘Kya kar loge Bhench**?’ That arrogance is the culmination of an unlawful state. We have enabled it.

Yet, what do we do hiding behind walls of assumed security? We become spectators to a blood sport. Until, one day, the violence comes home and the gladiators finish us off. We comment on SKM, we talk about its issues, now newspapers are pitting its leaders against each other. Yet, we do not realise, these leaders are really common people. They have been thrust into a nearly 11 month long protest and that takes a toll on the protesters, on them and on us. Patience is wearing thin.

Of course, there are differences between them. Of course, some of us have differences with them. Yet, this is the group, unwittingly leading hundreds of thousands of farmers, who stand as the last bulwark against absolute authoritarianism and erosion of all democratic values. If this wall falls, we can forever say bye bye to this nation.

The farmers protest is now poised between what direction SKM can give and farmers will follow versus when will the nation rise, lend its tangible solidarity to show the regime its place. The nation will have to rise with all its issues and they do not have to be agrarian. The Hindutva regime has assaulted us all – there are labour codes, there are women, there are caste fault lines, there are minorities, there are PSU employees, there are traders, and so on. In fact, I do not see any caste or class group left unaffected in a bad way by the regime.

As time passes, this jostling between farmers and the nation becomes more acute. I just hope the nation rises before things get out of hand. If they do, every single one of us will be responsible.

Two videos: One of a BJP supporter who was in the Thar which mowed down people. He says Bhaiya – Ashish Mishra (Monu) was driving. Another of slain journalist Raman’s brother, telling how media is manipulating testimonies on the ground. Click here …

Note: Last three days, Internet has been switched off in Lakhimpur area. Once the jam is lifted, much more direct evidence will tumble out. Including, I sadly hope, of Gurvinder’s, one the slain farmers, bullet wound and this post-mortem rigmarole become clinching evidence, not the primary evidence. But there is no ban on the people’s anger in the region. That they remain non-violent is a hall mark of their courage and wisdom.

I just hope it is not too late by then.


Farmers Protest: Compensation

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 313

Toll 628


A few years back when I was travelling Panjab to understand the region and people, a guide said to me: ‘if you want to understand Panjab, learn to count its corpses’. The statement was a catalyst to the book, but also led me to learn how the state views death? Especially deaths which are either accidental, or intentional, or by design through structural violence.

The most common aspect of such deaths is either denial by state or denial of compensation for death. This leads victim families to go into an endless loop seeking either affirmation or compensation thus distracting them from the circumstances which led to the death. For example, the conditions which result in farmer or labour suicides, the human rights violations that led to innocent being gunned down by the state. This never sat easy with me.

I know the importance of compensation in any victim family’s life. Yet, I have an issue with putting a price on life and not addressing the system that killed the person. With not rectifying the system. Because that would mean the systemic brutality will continue and murders will just be paid off.

Yesterday, Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s negotiated peace at Lakhimpur Khedi. Yes, the money offered for deaths and injuries is high but real justice would be to actually see Ajay Mishra (Teni) and Ashish Mishra (Monu) and around 15 accomplices booked and behind bars. Teni being sacked from union cabinet like Akbar was sacked when #MeToo allegations surfaced. The video attached clearly establishes Monu deliberately mowed down innocent farmers peacefully walking back from the protest.

Will that level of justice ever happen? Will actually, focus come back on Farm Laws, when that is the reason why the protests have started? Yesterday, the Supreme Court made some very naïve remarks: ‘when events like these happen, no one takes responsibility’; ‘why protest when the law is not in force at all? And the court has kept it in abeyance. There is a stay.’

The Advocate General described the Lakhimpur incident as ‘unfortunate’. The Solicitor General submitted, ‘Once the matter is before highest constitutional court, no one should be on roads. They must trust us’.

Sometimes one wonders if one is living inside a horror film. Why protest, your lordship?

Because farmers do not trust the justice system of the country. Yes, ‘trust’ the very word the Solicitor General brought up. The whole idea of compensation is to close the mouth of those aggrieved, to shut them up. That is where trust breaks and it has broken massively in this country. No one trusts the government any longer because the government has lied through the last seven years. On every single issue. Now the court has asked 43 SKM leaders why they are not joining talks to solve the Farm Laws issues. Trust, your lordship, trust is missing. Protest is against the Centre, not the state. The demands are crystal clear. The Centre has not budged yet you seek answers from farmers?

Now with this compensation announcement, farmers who have staked so much for close to a year by protesting are raising the issue of trust even with the SKM leadership. The faith in leadership is in tact but should the event not guide us to push for full justice? Push for Teni’s dismissal and Teni and Monu and company’s arrest? There are FIRs lodged under murder and criminal conspiracy and rioting.

To me, it was ironical to hear Rakesh Tikait reach Lakhimpur day before night and someone mention Navreet in a speech. I had shared the speech yesterday. Navreet was the young man who was shot at on January 26th and his tractor had toppled, killing him. At that time SKM had disowned him.

We understand SKM’s difficulties. We understand how hard it is to sustain the protests. We see how the nation rises in parts but has still not come out in full flow to demonstrate solidarity.

I believe, without all of us rising, the Farm Laws imbroglio and the protests will never end. We need to ask ourselves: is compensation the end? Is a price paid by corporates to acquire farm lands the solution to the Farm Laws? Basically, is life and land cheap? Can each of us, just be sold for a price? Isn’t that what these protests are about – self-respect, against commodification?

I do not have answers. I am no one to suggest answers. All I know is that to keep the trust we need to move away from the roulette table of compensation and rise together to tackle the draconian government. That is the need of the hour.

Video: to put an end to all the lies the BJP has been spinning since yesterday morning about farmers indulging in stone throwing that caused vehicles to topple and crush them, this video is clear evidence that no such thing happened. It was clear pre-mediated murder by Monu and company. 41 seconds. Trigger alert.

See here …


Farmers Protest: Irony of Democracy

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 312

Toll 627

Irony of Democracy

In this country now, government creates violence, people keep peace. Media spreads lies, people find truth.

Yesterday, Haryana CM incites violence. Son of MoS Home mows down farmers. Today, as dawn breaks, slain farmers, their families, farmers awaiting justice.

See here …


Farmers Protest: Irrelevant

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 311

Toll 623


What is the worst that can happen to a leader? A PM? Simply that what he says does not get reported, no one takes him seriously, everyone ignores him like he ignores people. That is exactly what happened to PM Modi’s statement on farmers protest yesterday. No one paid attention. Same banal lies, no one is interested.

This becoming irrelevant is the worst fate to befall someone as narcissistic as Modi. It happened last time when farmers organised their parliament in parallel to the Indian parliament. It happened yesterday and will continue to happen. Of course, electoral politics is a different ball game.

The same happened to ex CM Panjab Amarinder Singh when he went to discuss farmers issues and protest with the Home Minister. Too late Maharaja! You didn’t think of this for 10 months and when unseated you sought to become farmers uninvited representative. No, the farmers protest won’t allow you to appropriate it. It is interesting how though there is no let up from miseries, now the society is able to side line irrelevant discourses.

Yesterday, within a few hours of farmers in Haryana and Panjab protesting in front of elected MLAs across party lines, the Central government started paddy procurement. However, it is a sad comment how even for basics we now need to start protesting against this government. It shows how the governments have eroded democracy.

On the other hand, for those who wonder what will be the role of farmers protest in eastern Uttar Pradesh in the coming state elections, the SKM’s Padayatra from Champaran in Bihar to Varanasi began yesterday. Another Kisan Yatra left from Rudrapur to reach Ghazipur Border. Farmers have occupied the helipad at Maharaja Agrasen Ground at Tikunia, Tehsil Nighasan in District Lakhimpur Kheri of Uttar Pradesh. They are protesting against the Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ajay Mishra Teni who issued an open threat to SKM leaders in a public meeting recently.

The farmers have the government by the jugular. We just need to join efforts to press harder.


Farmers Protest: Oct 2

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 310

Toll 617

Oct 2

The irony of Gandhi Jayanthi is such that yesterday the Supreme Court frowned on the largest, longest, peaceful and non-violent protests in the country for blocking key roads to Delhi. The Court is now instructing farmers to become party to the petition as if it does not know the farmers stance: lack of faith in the judicial process.

Ask yourself why did the farmers never contest the Farm Laws in the Courts? Did the Court not last December say, ‘Women and elders should go back home.’ The panel that the Court established presented its report this March end. It is still lying in a sealed envelope. In August the Court said, ‘Farmers have a right to protest.’

Then what was this somersault yesterday?

Of course, Gandhi was flawed, there are many issues with him. Yet, there was merit in the form of resistance he cultivated. Ask yourself if Gandhi were alive today, where would he have been: at the government offices or on the roads protesting alongside the farmers?

In fact, farmers have decided to carry out a token fast today while the PM is busy removing Gandhi’s face from public spaces. All that the government, a legacy of those who killed Gandhi, wants to do with Gandhi is keep his round spectacles, his charakha, his emphasis on cleanliness, for their own publicity. What a dark joke on Gandhi!

Wish you a Gandhi Jayanthi but frankly I see it meaning less and less as years go by and perhaps nothing to the next generations.