A new destination of farmers’ protest against the Union government’s agriculture sector laws has emerged in Rajasthan, with hundreds of cultivators from far-off villages assembling for a ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ at Meena Seemla village in Dausa district. The farmers have announced a plan to hold a grand rally at the district headquarters on February 5.
The protest, organised under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) on Monday, witnessed student leaders, retired bureaucrats and police officers, academicians and farmer leaders calling for an immediate repeal of the farm laws. The speakers condemned the BJP's “obstinate stance” and flayed the alleged attempts being made to discredit the farmers' agitation.
C.L. Thikariya, president of Sharaab Mukt Abhiyan, said the Union government was extending all benefits to rich industrialists and corporate houses at the cost of poor farmers and labourers. Withdrawal of farm laws was the only way to prevent their destructive impact on agriculture, he added.
The farmer leaders extended support to the protesters staging a sit-in near Shahjahanpur, at the Rajasthan-Haryana border, for several days. They said the farmers from Dausa and elsewhere would join them to give strength to their movement. Slogans like ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ and ‘Kisan Ekta Zindabad’ (long live farmers’ unity) rent the air.
Gujjar leader Himmat Singh said farmers from eastern Rajasthan would soon announce a plan to lay siege to the Parliament House. “There is an intense anger among the farmers over the rumours spread about the incidents in Delhi on the Republic Day. Nothing less than a repeal of the laws is acceptable to us,” he said.
Congress MLAs Murari Lal Meena from Dausa and Gajraj Khatana from Bandikui have started mobilising farmers for the February 5 rally at Rajesh Pilot Stadium in Dausa. Mr. Meena said on Tuesday that 21-member committees had been formed for each Assembly constituency in eastern Rajasthan for interacting with farmers and generating awareness by explaining the ‘harmful’ impact of the farm statutes.
The series of public meetings in Dausa district and the dharna near Shahjahanpur seem to have united farmers and cattle-rearers belonging to the Meena, Gujjar and Meo communities in eastern Rajasthan. Jat leader and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal has also created a political upheaval by quitting the National Democratic Alliance and withdrawing his Rashtriya Loktantrik Party’s support to the BJP-led government over the issue.