Farmers Protest: Trust Deficit

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 378

Toll 713

Trust Deficit

Yesterday, for the first time since I have been seeing the Samyukt Kisan Morcha press conferences, I saw one leader postpone answering a question, they all leave the conference while a question was being asked. The question being asked was: why is SKM not meeting the government openly, like they did when 11 rounds of talks were held last winter?

Before that, after the previous day’s press note that said the government had not responded to SKM’s gesture of creating a 5-member committee or initiated any talks with them, the written response from government came at exactly 11 am when the SKM was planning to start its meeting.

Ever since the PM announced repeal of laws on November 19, all talks from the government side have been monologues while the farmers are expecting bi-lateral talks. Why is this happening? Why is government being sneaky? If the government wants protests to end, why can’t it meet farmers, negotiate and assure them on pending demands so they can leave the protest sites gracefully?

Two reasons come to my mind:

a) Talking, sorting issues, keeping good relations does not suit the government’s smoke and mirrors (perception) game. Somehow or other the government wants to look powerful. ‘Dosti bani rahe’ is not what the Sangh understands.

b) In spite of 56-inches or whatever, the entire Sangh eco-system and those who stand on top of it are small-hearted people. They neither have grace nor understand in democracy people seek transparency.

Now that SKM is dependent on the government to arrive at solutions so it can announce end of protests, the government is projecting its insecurities on SKM leadership and wants to discredit them. The government is creating conditions where SKM feels uncomfortable facing media, feels cagey and not transparent, thus spread the sense that SKM leadership is hiding something, and is untrustworthy.

While there are reasons SKM has reverted to the government, sought clarifications on each point, the main reason the matter is stuck is because government says it will do its part – quash cases, compensation to martyrs, MSP committee, and so on – after farmers end protest. Farmers are saying, at least decide timelines and display real intention before we lift our protest.

All this leads to trust deficit. Neither is government willing to trust farmers, nor are farmers willing to trust government. This deficit is most unfortunate and this time I can largely say the trust deficit is being perpetuated by the government. If you know my writings, you know how I hold trust as cardinal for any society to function, democracy to function. Various governments in the past have betrayed people, violated the trust between a state and a citizen, but what is on display is a ruinous mix of cowardice and arrogance.

It is the job of the media to point out this great lacunae in the government’s approach, make them accountable, but sadly our corporate media is hell bent on wanting to announce the end of protests and is playing up the next game: elections in five states. Thus it too is covering up for the government.

There is great churning inside the SKM as well. Different unions, different leaders, the cadre, all have their views on what next. The negotiations are now down to the wire. We can hope SKM will stay united, tide over this phase, and then we shall all see where we stand next.

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