Bharat Bandh updates: Protests against farm laws hit normal life in Punjab

Farmers on tractors shout slogans as they arrive to block the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border during a protest against farm bills passed by India's parliament, in Noida.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Various farmer groups called for a nationwide shutdown on Friday against three farm bills, which were passed by both houses of Parliament during the Monsoon session and await presidential assent.

Over 250 farmer and farm-worker organisations, under the umbrella of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), gave the call for the ‘Bharat bandh’. Opposition parties, including Congress, voiced support for the protest.

There were protests outside 250 Central govt. offices in Kerala. Farmers carried out 'Rail Roko' protests in Amritsar. They also protested at the Noida-Delhi border in Uttar Pradesh. Police arrested some in Bengaluru. While the Congress said it would work for non-implementation of  the new farm laws in Maharashtra, the Samajwadi Party sent a memorandum to the Uttar Pradesh Governor.

Here are the latest updates:

 

Congress holds press conference in Telangana

Congress Working Committee member M. Mallikarjun Kharge along with party senior leaders addresses a media conference opposing the Union Government's new farm Bills at Indira Bhavan in Hyderabad on Friday.

Congress Working Committee member M. Mallikarjun Kharge along with party senior leaders addresses a media conference opposing the Union Government's new farm Bills at Indira Bhavan in Hyderabad on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

 

 

Samajwadi Party protests against farm Bills, sends memorandum to U.P. Governor

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav. File

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

The Samajwadi Party on Friday held a statewide protest against the farm sector and labour reform Bills and sent a memorandum to Governor Anandiben Patel, requesting her to ensure that these are not implemented in the state.

“On the directives of Samajwadi Party’s national president Akhilesh Yadav, party workers sent a memorandum to the Governor thorough the respective district magistrates demanding that the ‘anti-farmers’ and ‘anti-workers’ bills should not be implemented in the state,” SP chief spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.

Akhilesh Yadav, in a statement, said the Samajwadi Party (SP) has always been in the forefront of raising issues of public interest and had stood against the ruling party for their anti-people stand.

He said under the present regime, the youth is unemployed and big capitalists have set their eyes on farmers’ land.

“Laws are being made only for multinational companies and a few industrialists. The BJP government has first introduced a bill of exploitation of farmers to benefit capitalists and now a bill of labour exploitation to benefit industrialists. They brought these bills without taking any suggestions, the statement said.

 

Punjab singers, actors back farmers; protest against farm Bills

Several Punjabi singers and actors, including Harbhajan Mann, Sidhu Moosewala and Ranjit Bawa, on Friday came out in support of farmers protesting against the agriculture-related Bills passed in Parliament recently.

While Mr. Moosewala held a protest in Mansa, Harbhajan Mann and Ranjit Bawa joined the agitation in Nabha.

Mr. Mann, accompanied by singers and artistes Ranjit Bawa, Tarsem Jassar and Kulwinder Billa, said they will go to any extent to save farming.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Bawa exhorted farmers to intensify their protest against the farm Bills. He said they are also as much upset as farmers over the legislations.

Punjabi actor Guggu Gill on his Facebook page said, "Before an actor, I am a farmer and I also stand with farmers in this campaign. I appeal to the government to reconsider these Bills".

 

Farmers and left party leaders stage tractor rally in Khammam

Left party leaders and farmers staged tractors rally in protest against the new agriculture bills by the Central government in Khammam.

Left party leaders and farmers staged tractors rally in protest against the new agriculture bills by the Central government in Khammam.   | Photo Credit: G.N.Rao

 

 

Will work for non-implementation of new farm laws in Maharashtra: Congress

The Congress, which is part of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, on Friday said it would work towards ensuring that the farm sector bills passed by the Parliament are not implemented in the state.

Balasaheb Thorat

Balasaheb Thorat  

The party said it has decided to hold a protest on October 2 against the new laws and a month-long awareness campaign.

“We will work together and take a decision on non- implementation of the new farm laws in Maharashtra,”state Congress president and minister Balasaheb Thorat said during a press conference.

The party’s state leaders will meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on September 28 over the issue, while on October 2, a state-wide ‘dharna’ agitation will be held, he added.

“Signature campaign of farmers will be organised between October 2 and 31. Similarly, farmers’ conventions will be held during the period,” Mr. Thorat said.

The party’s demand is to scrap the anti-farmer and anti-labour laws, the Revenue Minister said. - PTI

 

Democratic Youth Federation of India protest with farmers in Mumbai

Democratic Youth Federation of India workers along with farmers take part in a protest against new farm laws, in Mumbai.

Democratic Youth Federation of India workers along with farmers take part in a protest against new farm laws, in Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Farm bills passed in Parl in shameful manner: Raj CM Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday targeted the Centre over three farm bills, saying they were were introduced in Parliament without consulting mandi traders and opposition parties, and were passed in a shameful manner.

Ashok Gehlot.

Ashok Gehlot.   | Photo Credit: PTI

He claimed that all the provisions made in the bills are anti-farmer and the mandis will be destroyed.

“Why was the law made? Why was the minimum support price (MSP) not proposed? You can understand from it that the situation is very serious and the way these three bills were passed, it was also done in a shameful manner,” Gehlot told reporters.

Attacking the government, he claimed, “These are people of fascist thinking and they do not believe in democracy. All the work is being done so that public attention can be diverted.” - PTI

Read more
 

 

TN Min says farm bills will not affect Tamil Nadu ryots

The Tamil Nadu government on Friday sought to assert that the three farm bills passed in Parliament recently will not affect farmers, saying Chief Minister K Palaniswami will not allow any legislation detrimental to their interests.

R. Doraikannu, Minister for Agriculture Tamil Nadu

R. Doraikannu, Minister for Agriculture Tamil Nadu   | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

The farmers in the state will not be affected by the Central legilsations, Agriculture Minister R Doraikannu said.

The government’s assertion came on a day when farmers staged protests in different parts of the state against the agri-related bills that are being strongly opposed to by ryots across the country, besides opposition parties including the Congress and the DMK.

Doraikannu said being a farmer himself, Chief Minister K Palaniswami will not accept any legislation that went against the state farmers’ interests.

Reacting sharply to DMK president M K Stalin who has been targeting Palaniswami and the ruling AIADMK for backing the bills, alleging it was “an unpardonable betrayal of farmers’ welfare”, Doraikannu said the chief minister has supported the bills to facilitate improvement in farmers’ lives.

As a farmer the chief minister knew what was beneficial for the farmers and he would not accept any legislation against the interests of farmers in the state, he added.

 

AIKSCC, unions and left parties participate in protest against farm bills in Hyderabad

Members of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and activists of left parties and trade unions participate in a nationwide protest against the Union Government over new farm bills, in Hyderabad on Friday.

Members of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and activists of left parties and trade unions participate in a nationwide protest against the Union Government over new farm bills, in Hyderabad on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

 

Fadnavis slams Congress for opposing new agriculture laws

Maharashtra BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Friday hit out at the Congress and other opposition parties at the Centre for opposing the farm sector bills that were passed in the Parliament.

Devendra Fadnavis

Devendra Fadnavis  

He said the Congress’s stand on the issue was nothing but "double standards" as it was "out of power."

Talking to reporters in Navi Mumbai, Mr. Fadnavis said the opposition parties were against the bills just for the sake of politics.

"The same Congress had promised to introduce similar changes (in the laws) when it was in power. They are opposing it just for their politics and nothing else. In fact, not implementing these laws will be anti-farmer," the former Maharashtra Chief Minister said.

"Congress had even mentioned the same promises during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Hence, its current stand is full of double standards," Mr. Fadnavis said.

 

Police arrests farmers in Bengaluru

Police arresting farmers who had intensifying their protest against government, for tabling the alleged anti farmers bill in Karnataka Assembly session, at SBM circle, in Bengaluru.

Police arresting farmers who had intensifying their protest against government, for tabling the alleged anti farmers bill in Karnataka Assembly session, at SBM circle, in Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: K Murali Kumar

 

Farmers hold protests in Kerala against new agriculture reforms bills

Farmers under the aegis of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) staged widespread protests in Kerala on Friday against the Farm Bills passed recently in Parliament, alleging that the new legislations will hand over the country’s agriculture sector to corporate giants.

Senior CPI(M) leader and Vice President of AIKS, S Ramachandran Pillai launched the protest in front of the Raj Bhavan here and said the new agri bills will turn farmers into labourers of corporate giants.

“The central government has passed laws that will turn all farmers into labourers dependent on giant corporates.

Their aim is to hand over the agriculture sector to the corporates. Through this move, our agricultural land, the production and sale of farm produce will be taken over by corporates. We are selling our agriculture sector to corporate giants,” Mr. Pillai alleged.

Noting that over 60% population in the country were farmers, he said the Centre was not ready to take proactive steps to protect the majority. - PTI

 

Farmers carry out 'Rail Roko' protests in Amritsar

A group of farmers blocking railway track at Devidaspura in Punjab's Amritsar, against farm-bills. Photo: Special Arrangement.

A group of farmers blocking railway track at Devidaspura in Punjab's Amritsar, against farm-bills. Photo: Special Arrangement.  

 

 

Left wing farmers’ bodies hold protests in Bengal against farm bills

Members of farmers’ bodies loyal to the Left parties staged protests on Friday in various parts of West Bengal as part of the nationwide stir demanding the withdrawal of the “anti-people” farm bills passed in the Parliament.

Farmers with green vegetables take part in a protest against new farm bills, in Kolkata.

Farmers with green vegetables take part in a protest against new farm bills, in Kolkata.   | Photo Credit: PTI

CPI(M) farmers wing 'Sara Bharat Krishak Sabha' and those of other left partners such as CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP took out rallies in the districts and blocked roads for some time.

Participants in the processions at some places carried vegetables and agricultural produce and shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Alleging that the BJP government at the Centre was opening up the farm sector to big corporate houses and pushing small and marginal farmers to starvation, the agitators took out processions in the rural belts of Hooghly, Murshidabad, North 24 Parganas, Bankura and Nadia districts among others.

The Left Front and its fraternal organisations had on September 22 called for a strong movement against the passage of the "anti-farmer" bill in an "undemocratic manner".

The LF rallies are part of the country-wide protests by 'Sara Bharat Krishak Sangharsha Samannoy Committee', which comprises the Krishak Sabha, CPI-M's farmers wing, against the "draconian" Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

The ruling Trinamool Congress farmers' wing also brought out protest rallies across the state on Thursday and Friday. - PTI

 

Bharat bandh: mixed response in Haryana

Bhartiya Kisan Union Haryana president Gurnam Singh Charuni on Friday said that Bharatiya Janata Party had been exploiting farmers at a pace “four times” more than the Congress.

Farmers holding protest on Kurukshetra-Ambala Road in Haryana against farm bills on Friday.

Farmers holding protest on Kurukshetra-Ambala Road in Haryana against farm bills on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Ashok Kumar

Speaking to the media persons at Haryana's Panchkula, Mr. Charuni denied that his organisation had no understanding with the Congress. He was in Pinjore to take part in a protest against farm bills as part of the call for Bharat bandh.

“Both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have exploited farmers. But I would like to add that BJP is doing so at a pace four times more than the Congress,” said Mr. Charuni. He added that government was making laws for big corporate and not listening to the people.

Read more
 

 

Protests organised in more than 250 centres in Kerala

CPI (M) Politburo member and All India Kisan Sabha national vice president S. Ramachandran Pillai on Friday called for a united effort at the national level to resist the anti-democratic and anti-farmer policies of the BJP Government.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member S. Ramachandran Pillai. File

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member S. Ramachandran Pillai. File   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

“The controversial farm bills introduced by the Centre abysmally fall short legally and constitutionally. They will practically hand over the vulnerable agriculture sector to Indian and foreign corporates,” Mr. Ramachandran Pillai said, inaugurating a protest sit-in outside the Raj Bhavan organised by the Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi as part of the nationwide stir against the bills.

“The decision to promote contract farming, for instance, will estrange farmers from farm lands and the markets. Farmers will be relegated to the position of corporate labourers,” he said.

Read more

 

’Disgusting conspiracy’ against farmers: Surjewala on farm bills

The Congress on Friday termed the agriculture-related bills introduced by the Centre as a “disgusting conspiracy” against the farmers of the country and said it stands firm with them in support of the Bharat Bandh call.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. File

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

At a press conference here, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala described the farm legislations as “black laws“.

“The Modi government through three black laws has launched a brutal attack on farmers, farm labourers and their livelihoods,” Mr. Surjewala said on Friday.

He said the bills are a “disgusting conspiracy” against the farmers and barns in the country.

Mr. Surjewala said the country has been attacked by the coronavirus, and by China on the border while “Modi ji has targeted the barns in India“.

He further said, “Today, farmers and farm labourers have called for a Bharat Bandh across the country and under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Party stands firm with them.”

Earlier, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot attacked the Modi government, saying “These fascist people do not have faith in democracy, so they keep doing things that divert the attention of the people“.

He said the way these three bills were passed in Parliament is "shameful". -PTI

 

Protests against farm laws hit normal life in Punjab

Normal life was hit in Punjab on Friday amid the call for a nationwide shutdown — Bharat bandh — by several farmer outfits against the agriculture sector laws pushed by the Centre government.

Farmers gesture as they block a national highway during a protest against farm bills passed by India's parliament, in Shambhu in the northern state of Punjab.

Farmers gesture as they block a national highway during a protest against farm bills passed by India's parliament, in Shambhu in the northern state of Punjab.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Hundreds of farmers were seen in Patiala district’s Rajpura, where they squatted on the road at the Patiala bypass on the national highway.

They were shouting slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre, accusing it of implementing “anti-farmer” policies.

Participating in the agitation, Gurdev Singh, 60, a farmer from Bhamour village in Fatehgarh Sahib, said his greatest fear was that private players would take over agriculture trade completely and government would stop purchasing wheat and paddy subsequently.

“Once the government stops purchasing wheat and paddy, it’s evident that Minimum Support Price regime will get discard. Where will a small farmer like me go then? It’s a conspiracy to phase out farmers from agriculture and let big corporates take over gradually,” said Mr. Singh, who owns five acres of land and has cultivated paddy in his farm.

Read more
 

 

PM Modi says farm bills to benefit small, marginal farmers most, attacks Opposition

Hitting out at the Opposition at its attack on his government over the farm bills issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that those who always “lied” to farmers are now “shooting from their shoulders” and misleading them for their own political benefit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo  

Addressing BJP leaders and workers on the birth anniversary of party’s ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay, Mr. Modi asked them to reach out to farmers on the ground and inform them about details and benefits of the new agriculture reforms and how these will empower them.

Our ground connect will finish off the propaganda being spread about the reforms, he said.

Mr. Modi said small and marginal farmers, who constitute 85% of the peasant community, will benefit the most from these reforms which, he added, give them an option to sell their produce outside agriculture ‘mandis’ for a better price.

Attacking the Congress, which has been trying to mount a nationwide protests against these bills, Mr. Modi said hollow slogans were given in favour of farmers and workers for many decades since Independence and governments at the Centre and states were formed in their name.

All that farmers and labourers got was a jumbled web of promises and laws, he said.

Mr. Modi said those who always lied to farmers are now “shooting from their shoulders” and misleading them.

“They are spreading rumours. Saving farmers from such rumours and explaining the importance of the agriculture reforms is the responsibility and duty of all BJP workers because we have to make the future of farmers bright,” Mr. Modi said.

Read more
 

 

Farmers protest at Noida-Delhi border in Uttar Pradesh

Scores of farmers gathered on a key road in Noida in Uttar Pradesh in a protest demonstration on Friday, prompting deployment of police in riot gear that kept them from proceeding towards Delhi.

Farmers on tractors shout slogans as they arrive to block the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border during a protest against farm bills passed by India's parliament, in Noida.

Farmers on tractors shout slogans as they arrive to block the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border during a protest against farm bills passed by India's parliament, in Noida.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Around 150-200 farmers were at the Noida Gate in Sector 14A near Chilla, at the UP-Delhi border, where they were stopped by the Gautam Buddh Nagar police around 12 noon, officials said.

The farmers under the Bharatiya Kisan Union banner are protesting the farm sector Bills that were passed by the Parliament during the just-concluded Monsoon Session, alleging they were “anti-farmer” legislations.

“Police personnel have been deployed at the Noida Gate to check the movement of protesters. The situation is under control. We are talking to the farmers and ensuring no law and order situation arises,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Noida, Rajesh S said. - PTI

 

Farmers in Karnataka protest “anti-farmer” policies

Farmers in Karnataka staged demonstrations across the state on Friday as part of a ‘bandh’ call given to protest the ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the Central and State governments.

Farmers intensifying their protest against government, for tabling the alleged anti farmers bill in Karnataka Assembly session, at SBM circle in Bengaluru.

Farmers intensifying their protest against government, for tabling the alleged anti farmers bill in Karnataka Assembly session, at SBM circle in Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: K. Muralikumar

A large number of ryots from various parts of the state flocked to the state capital to take part in the demonstrations to register their protest against the amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act and the Karnataka Land Reforms Act.

Amendment to APMC Act would allow farmers to sell their produce directly to any purchaser outside APMC or in other APMCs.

The protesters called these amendments ‘anti-farmer’ and alleged that some people in power brought them to convert their black money into white.

A group of farmers blocked the busy Tumakuru road near Yashwantpur in the city.

As the police reached the spot to clear the blockade, the farmers courted arrest and were taken away in buses.

Demonstrations were also held in other places, including Mysuru and Davangere.

A large number of police personnel were deployed at many places to avert any chock-a-block. - PTI

 

Protests outside 250 Central govt. offices today

Protests will be held outside 250 Central government offices in the State on Friday as part of the nationwide stir against the controversial farm Bills.

A group of farmers, under the banner of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee OBC (Other Backward Communities) department, take out a ‘tractor march’ from Kozhinjampara to Palakkad town on Thursday in protest against the farm Bills.

A group of farmers, under the banner of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee OBC (Other Backward Communities) department, take out a ‘tractor march’ from Kozhinjampara to Palakkad town on Thursday in protest against the farm Bills.   | Photo Credit: K.K. Mustafah

 

In Thiruvananthapuram, senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and All India Kisan Sabha vice president S. Ramachandran Pillai will inaugurate the protest outside the Raj Bhavan, the Karshaka Samyuktha Samithi, which is spearheading the agitation in the State, said.

Samithi leaders Sathyan Mokeri and K.N. Balagopal urged farmer organisations and farmers to support the agitations.

Read more
 

 

Tamil Nadu farmers protest the Bills

Farmers stage a protest in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, demanding that the new agriculture bill be withdrawn.

Farmers stage a protest in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, demanding that the new agriculture bill be withdrawn.   | Photo Credit: G. Karthikeyan

 

 

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel slams Centre over passage of farm Bills in Parliament

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhaghel on Thursday said the farm Bills passed in the Parliament are against the interests of farmers and if needed, the Congress may move court against their implementation. He also said that if required, the Congress may stall their implementation in the party-ruled States.

The Congress has always fought for farmers and labourers and will continue doing so, Mr. Baghel said while addressing a press conference in Nagpur, Maharashtra, on the issue of farm Bills passed in Parliament.

Read more
 

 

Will the farm bills benefit farmers? Experts discuss

Three farm Bills — the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill (commonly referred to as the APMC Bypass Bill), and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill — were cleared by Parliament amid protests from the Opposition. We discuss the implications of the controversial Bills.

Read more
 

 

Read farm Bills before stoking fears that farmers will suffer: Jal Shakti Minister tells Opposition

Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Shekhawat justifies the farm Bills as follows:

These policies have been thought through. The National Farmers Commission was set up when Atalji [former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee] was Prime Minister; the first report came around 2004; the fourth [report] in 2006. Not only the recommendations of this Commission but also that of the Swaminathan Commission were gone through threadbare and, since I was Minister of State for Agriculture in the last government, I can say this with responsibility that I myself went through all these recommendations. The recommendations were in multiple stages, to reflect the change in India’s status from a food deficit to a food surplus nation. Right from land reforms, which we worked on first with the Assured Income Purchase Bill and Farmer Producers Organisations, were all part of it.

We have to plan ahead, what we can do today with conviction, tomorrow we may have to do under compulsion. The Bills are based on recommendations of Commissions set up by successive governments and I would advise the Opposition to read the Bill before stoking fears that farmers will suffer through these much-needed reforms. The assured income via contracts, the rationalisation of price if there is a spike in commodity rates, the time-bound redressal mechanism are all safeguards.

Read more
 

 

Opinion | It’s a no green signal from the farm world

In a virtual rally, the Prime Minister blamed the Opposition parties for misleading farmers about the three Bills on agriculture, in Parliament. While the Opposition may have taken up the cudgels recently, the fact is that farmers have been protesting against the Bills ever since it was promulgated as ordinances in June. These are The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The resignation of Food Processing Industries Minister (and Shiromani Akali Dal MP), Harsimrat Kaur Badal, from the Union Cabinet, and dissenting voices from various mass organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh suggest that the opposition to the Bills may not be politically motivated; rather, it may be a reflection of the genuine concerns of farmers.

Several reforms at the level of the central government as well as at the State level have been introduced and welcomed by farmers. However, in this particular case, the issue is not about the Bills; it is also about the process of their introduction. As was pointed out by Ms. Badal, the government has failed to have or hold any discussion with the various stakeholders including farmers and middlemen. This is also true when it comes to consultation with State governments even though the subject of trade and agriculture are part of subjects on the State list. The attempt to pass the Bills without proper consultation adds to the mistrust among various stakeholders including State governments. While the lack of consultation has certainly added to the element of mistrust between the government and farmers, some of the issues raised by farmer organisations are also genuine; recent trends in agricultural prices and incomes have only confirmed these fears.

Read more
 

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 4:08:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bharat-bandh-against-farm-bills-september-25-2020/article32692845.ece

Next Story