Angry Uttar Pradesh farmers march to Delhi; to reach on Gandhi Jayanti

The young, old, women and children--all farmers have been walking to the capital city of Delhi to highlight their issues and plight. Bharatiya Kisan Union of UP is leading the movement

NH Photo by Aas Mohd Kaif
NH Photo by Aas Mohd Kaif

Aas Mohd Kaif

Unhappy with the policies of the Narendra Modi Government, Uttar Pradesh farmers are once again out on the streets. This time, the Bharatiya Kisan Union, the largest organisation of farmers in UP, has taken charge of the movement. This is the same organisation which was founded by late farmer Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Tikait, and currently being led by his son, Naresh Tikait.

Thousands of unhappy farmers from all over the state are participating in the march, which began from Haridwar, Uttarakhand on September 23. This march has presently reached Muzaffarnagar, where it has received unprecedented support. The Bharatiya Kisan Union, which had weakened since the Muzaffarnagar riots, has now got support from Muslim farmers too. The slogans of ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’ are being chanted simultaneously from the forum of the BKU. These slogans have always been identified with the BKU but were not heard after the riots.

Interestingly, the farmers who are considered to be the opponents of BKU have also supported this march. According to Shahid Alam of BKU, everyone has now realised that this march is in the interest of the farmers and opposes the anti-farmer policies of the BJP-led NDA government.

The march, which started from Tikait Ghat of Haridwar on September 23 and will culminate at Kisan Ghat in Delhi on October 2, has been christened as ‘Kisan Kranti Yatra’. Farmers from all across the country are taking part in it. At the beginning of the Kisan Kranti Yatra, about 30,000 farmers and more than 500 tractors joined the march. Now, the number of farmers participating in the march has swelled to over 50,000.

NH Photo by Aas Mohd Kaif
NH Photo by Aas Mohd Kaif
The farmers’ Kisan Kranti Yatra at Muzaffarnagar

According to Rakesh Tikait, Secretary-General, BKU, “The farmers have been agitating for a long time now for the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s report and on the issue of the price of their produce and loan waiver. Even after four years of this government, farmers’ movements are erupting at various places and it proves that the Bharatiya Janata Party government does not care about farmers’ problems and issues.”

As per government reports, farmers have been giving up farming. Incidents of farmers’ suicides have not reduced; instead, they have been increasing. The burden of loans too has been increasing since they have not been getting fair price for their produce. The Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana) is working in the interest of insurance companies, not in the farmers’ interest, say farmers.

BKU spokesperson Dharmendra Malik says, “The sugarcane farmers of the country have an outstanding payment of about ₹19,000 crores even after the sugarcane season is over. In its manifesto, the BJP stated that they would ensure payment to sugarcane farmers within 14 days. This promise of the BJP has also proved to be a mere ‘jumla’. The report of a commission formed in the name of farmers has been lying unused for last 15 years. Forget its implementation, it has not been even discussed in Parliament. The persecution of the farmers by governments continues.”

NH Photo by Aas Mohd Kaif
NH Photo by Aas Mohd Kaif
Women farmers have been taking active part in the Kisan Kranti Yatra march

Another significant fact is that not only the young but even old farmers, women and children are a part of this march. They have been received warmly in every town and village. Indicating their support to the march, the local residents have been bringing food to distribute it among those who are in the march. Be it Mangalore Mandi, Barla Inter College or Kookda Mandi in Muzaffarnagar, wherever this procession of the farmers stopped, they were welcomed. On Thursday, September 27, the march stopped for a while at Bhaisee village of Muzaffarnagar. When the march reached Mansurpur, a large number of farmers flooded the streets.

Remarkably, this march is not hindering traffic on the Delhi-Haridwar-Badrinath National Highway 58; the farmers are walking on the side of the road.

Kisan Kranti Yatra will enter Delhi on October 2, where lakhs of farmers are likely to join.

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