National

400 feminists, organisations write to govt in support of women farmers

A contingent of women farmers from Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) of Punjab at Tikri Border, New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Sanskriti Talwar

Over 400 Indian feminists, women’s organisations and academics have penned an open letter to the government expressing their solidarity with protesting women farmers as well as underscoring that they are central to the farmers’ agitation as they are likely to be hit the hardest.

On January 12, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde suggested in the Supreme Court that the elderly and women return home.

“Women farmers have been firmly in the leadership of this struggle, just as much as they lead the process of agriculture itself and bear the burden of crushing farm debts, suicides, shrinking incomes, and ecological disaster... (even though) women farmers are neither allowed to own land nor acknowledged for their labour in law or policy,” stated the letter endorsed by over 400 signatories including Annie Raja, Ayesha Kidwai,Kamla Bhasin Shabnam Hashmi, Meena Seshu, Vrinda Grover and organisations like Saheli, Forum Against Oppression of Women, National Alliance of People's Movement, among others.

If the three laws - The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 were not repealed, the marginal and women farmers are likely to be hit harder as the dismantling of the APMC would mean farmers would not be able to negotiate prices, it said.

“The contract farming envisaged under these laws would be that women dependent on small or marginal holdings, either as direct cultivators or tenants would be highly disadvantaged in negotiating contracts be this knowledge, power or market acuity. Shockingly, farmers or anyone representing them will also not have any recourse to the jurisdiction of appellate courts to challenge contracts that dupe them or force them into landlessness and penury,” the letter noted

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 10:15:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/400-feminists-organisations-write-to-govt-in-support-of-women-farmers/article33656943.ece

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