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 …

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