Congress condemns use of force on farmers trying to reach Delhi to protest against farm laws

The Congress questioned why the government was not willing to engage and hold discussions with the farmers over their concerns

Prof Gourav Vallabh (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
Prof Gourav Vallabh (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
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NH Web Desk

The Congress on Thursday condemned the use of force on farmers trying to reach the national capital to stage a protest against the newly-enacted farm laws and questioned why the government was not willing to engage and hold discussions with the farmers over their concerns.

Addressing a press briefing, party spokesperson Prof. Gourav Vallabh said, “Today marks a black day in history due to several reasons. It is highly unfortunate and denigrating that the present government is dedicated to only protecting the rights of a few. Today, around 62 crore farmers and 250 farm organizations from all over the country are protesting against the draconian farm bills but the present BJP government is hell-bent on suppressing the genuine demands and concerns of the farmers.”

“On the eve of Constitution day, farmers have been stopped from entering Delhi with force too in a number of instances. Does the Constitution not guarantee rights for our farmers? Has the BJP government reserved the rights only for their privileged friends only?” he added.

Here are the highlights of the press briefing:

BJP Government is apathetic to farmers’ rights after mortgaging them to their corporate friends.

Today marks a black day in history due to several reasons. It is highly unfortunate and denigrating that present government is dedicated to only protecting the rights of a few. Today, around 62 crore farmers and 250 farm organizations from all over the country are protesting against the draconian farm bills but the present BJP government is hell bent on suppressing the genuine demands and concerns of the farmers. On the eve of Constitution day, farmers have been stopped from entering Delhi with force too in a number of instances. Does the Constitution not guarantee rights for our farmers? Has the BJP government reserved the rights only for their privileged friends only?

The BJP government had promised to double farmer income by 2022. But the fact remains that the situation of the farmers has worsened in the BJP tenure. Agricultural incomes fell to a 14 year low in 2018-19 and agricultural products witnessed the worst price slump in 18 years the same year.

Now, BJP is hatching a cruel conspiracy to mortgage agriculture and agricultural land in the hands of crony capitalists. We have been opposing the bills vehemently since the time they were introduced.

Summarizing our concerns once again:

▪ The three ordinances paved the way for dismantling the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime. The ordinances have provisions which have an overriding effect on the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) and MSP regime

▪ Abolishing the system of Grain Market-Vegetable Market i.e. APMC will totally destroy the ‘Agriculture Produce Procurement System’. In such a scenario, the farmers will neither get the ‘Minimum Support Price’ (MSP) nor the price of their crop as per the market price. How does the government guarantee MSP to the farmers? Is the government even determined to ensure rights of farmers are protected?

▪ As per the agriculture census 2015-16, in our country the average land holding is 2 acres or less than that. With such low land holding by farmers, how does the government expect the farmers to understand, structure and negotiate contracts with big corporate houses? Is the government not leaving the farmers to be exploited by the corporates through forcing them for contract farming?

▪ Totally lifting the stock limit on the agriculture produce, consumable items and fruit-flower-vegetables shall neither benefit farmers nor the consumer. It will only benefit a handful of people indulging in hoarding and black marketing.

We have 3 specific questions for the government:

1. Who has this government sworn in to protect? Does it only value its rich corporate friends? Why does it choose to so conveniently ignore the sweat and tears of our farmers?

2. Which constitution is the BJP government following? When the farmers reach out for their rights, they are suppressed, why is the government so scared of the farmers?

3. Why is the government not willing to engage and hold discussions with the farmers?

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