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Why did the farmer protest start again, what are the demands of the farmers?

The protests were calling for the creation of a Minimum Support Price (MSP) bill to make sure that big companies cannot control the prices.

Recently, the Indian government announced that Chaudhary Charan Singh and M.S. Swaminathan, often hailed as saviors of farmers, will be awarded the Bharat Ratna. However, it seems the government’s move has failed as farmer unions are once again protesting against the Modi government. In November 2021, farmers had called off their protests, but two years later, they are back on the streets.

The United Farmers’ Front has declared a march to Delhi on February 13. Farmer unions have raised the slogan ‘Delhi Chalo,’ and on Tuesday, there are plans for a massive march towards Delhi by farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the United Farmers’ Front has also called for a rural India shutdown on February 16 for one day.

Why are the farmers marching to Delhi again?

This is not the first time farmers are protesting. Two years ago, there was a historic farmers’ protest on the outskirts of Delhi, which led to the government retracting three agricultural laws passed in Parliament. Farmers were concerned that these laws could eliminate the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and put farming under the control of corporate companies. Despite significant sacrifices by the farmers during the protest, their concerns were not given much importance by the government and non-governmental bodies.

Two years ago, the government not only repealed the laws but also promised to guarantee MSP. Following this assurance, farmers ended their protest. However, farmers now claim that the government has not fulfilled its promises regarding MSP.

What are the farmers demanding?

Similar to the 2021 protest, farmers are once again demonstrating for several demands. Their primary demand is the creation of a law guaranteeing the Minimum Support Price (MSP). Making a law for MSP is their biggest demand.

The United Farmers’ Front says they want to remind the central government of the promises made two years ago when they appealed to farmers to end their protest. Those promises are yet to be fulfilled. The government had pledged to guarantee MSP and withdraw cases against farmers, but these promises remain unfulfilled.

 

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What are the demands of the farmers?

  • The biggest demand of the farmers is about MSP. Farmers demand that a law should be made regarding the minimum support price.
  • Farmers demand that the government implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
  • Farmers demand that agricultural loans be forgiven.
  • Farmers want a reduction in electricity rates and the cancellation of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020.
  • India should be removed from the WTO.
  • The victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence should get justice.
  • Farmers demand an increase in subsidies to reduce import duties on agricultural products such as fruits, milk, vegetables, and meat.
  • Pensions should be given to farmers and agricultural laborers.
  • Cases against farmers should be withdrawn.

Top of Form

In 2021, during the protests against agricultural laws in Lakhimpur Kheri, four Sikh farmers were reportedly crushed by the car of the then Home State Minister Ajay Mishra Teni. Farmers are demanding jobs for the families of those who died in the incident and punishment for the guilty. The United Farmers’ Front said, “The government promised the farmers the highest price for their crops according to the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission. The government honored M.S. Swaminathan with the Bharat Ratna, but his report is not being implemented. Additionally, the government promised to keep the farmers free from pollution laws, but none of these promises have been fulfilled.”

Let me tell you, the Swaminathan Commission’s report recommends giving farmers a price for their crops that is 1.5 times the cost.

Farmers marching to Delhi are alleging that the tractor march has already started. Thousands of farmers are reaching Delhi without causing any traffic jams. The Delhi march is being conducted with full discipline. MSP is a crucial issue. The government has sealed the borders, and continuous arrests are being made. Our voices are not being heard. Labor is the biggest strength of this country. We have experience in breaking barricades. The government is stopping us, causing trouble to the public.

Protesting farmers allege that farmers from Karnataka, who were joining the Delhi march, were arrested in Bhopal by stopping a train. They are accused of assaulting them, resulting in serious injuries to one farmer.

The protests called for the creation of a Minimum Support Price (MSP) bill to make sure that companies cannot control the prices.

  • To stop the farmers, various arrangements have been made at the borders. High security has been placed along the borders of Delhi, anticipating the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march of the farmers. The police in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi are on high alert. To prevent the march in March, all borders, including Singhu and Gazipur, have been sealed. The border near Shambhu in Ambala, adjoining Punjab, has also been sealed.
  • In preparation for the protests, police and central forces have been deployed on all surrounding roads. About 5,000 security personnel have been stationed, ready to block the farmers with barricades and barbed wire. CCTV cameras and loudspeakers have also been installed. Eight layers of walls have been erected at the Delhi-Haryana border, and large barricades and iron containers have been placed on some roads. Water cannons are also arranged to control the crowd, and social media activities are being monitored.
  • Those violating the law will be arrested. Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora has issued orders stating that the entry of tractors into Delhi is prohibited. Carrying temporary weapons such as guns, inflammable substances, bricks, and stones is also banned. Even collecting petrol and soda bottles is restricted. Additionally, the use of loudspeakers is prohibited for the next month.

To maintain law and order in the capital, Section 144 has been imposed throughout Delhi, prohibiting the gathering of any kind of crowd. Immediate arrest orders have been issued for those violating Section 144. No one is allowed to violate the law.

  • In Haryana, temporary jails have been set up at Chaudhary Dalbir Singh Indoor Stadium and Guru Govind Singh Stadium in Sirsa to detain farmers causing disturbance.
  • Delhi Police’s Traffic Advisory has been issued for all borders of the capital. Entry of heavy vehicles into Delhi has been restricted, and lighter vehicles are advised to use local borders instead of the main ones.
  • In the political context of the farmers’ Delhi march, the opposition is supporting the farmers. The opposition accuses the government of trying to suppress the farmers. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has accused the Modi government of deceiving the farmers for ten years, writing on social media, “Modi, who has been cultivating lies day and night for ten years, has only deceived the farmers. By promising double income, Modi has only made farmers yearn for MSP.” Rahul Gandhi further stated, “Farmers are oppressed by inflation. Due to the lack of fair prices for crops, their debts have increased by 60 percent. The result is that nearly 30 farmers lose their lives every day. Only those who betray their promises can play politics with farmers in the name of MSP, not justice. Those who lay hurdles in the path of farmers are not worthy of trust.”
Haryana’s Home Minister Anil Vij has said that they will do anything to ensure the safety of the state’s people and maintain peace. He also mentioned that big issues can be resolved through dialogue, and this issue will also be resolved through talks.

What is MSP, for which farmers are protesting?

The biggest demand of the farmers is MSP. MSP (Minimum Support Price) means determining a minimum value for the farmer’s produce. It is decided when sowing the crop what price the produce will be sold for in the market after harvesting. The government, under MSP, guarantees that the farmer will not receive less than the fixed price for their produce, regardless of market fluctuations. Farmers demand that the MSP law can protect the country’s food providers from losses due to fluctuations in market prices. MSP is a guaranteed price for crop sales. MSP ensures that the price of the crop will not be lower than the fixed price.

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