Farm unions will hold nationwide protests against the hikes in fuel prices on July 8. Protestors will bring empty cooking gas cylinders and gather by roadsides without obstructing traffic from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, said the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), after a meeting at the Singhu border on Friday.
Although the SKM general body meeting, attended by representatives from 67 unions, discussed the proposal to undertake a march to Parliament, no decision was taken to do it during the upcoming session, according to union leaders. Instead, a decision was taken to reach out to all Members of Parliament on July 17, two days before the session begins, to urge them to act on behalf of protesting farmers who are demanding a repeal of three farm reform laws, and a legal guarantee for minimum support prices.
“Some of the unions are in a hurry, but we have not finalised anything as we don’t want it to be a small protest that will fizzle out,” said All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah, who is one of the core committee members of the SKM.
“When we do it, it will be a show of might with lakhs of people. We cannot use up every weapon we have in the movement,” he added.
In the run up to the meeting, some unions including the Bharatiya Kisan Union faction led by Haryana leader Gurnam Singh Charuni, had been mobilising support for a march to Parliament.
Union leaders hope that the July 8 protest will draw support from farmers as well as the general public. “Fuel price hike affects all, but it is maximum a farmers issue. Diesel is the lifeline of farming. It is needed for tractors, for groundwater pumps. Every farm input, whether fertilisers or seeds, will go up in price because of this. It will increase the cost of getting crops to market,” said Mr. Mollah.