Samyukta Kisan Morcha slams govt handling of farmers' protest, arrest of leaders

The 13 February protest march call has been issued by a splinter group of the original SKM, and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha

File photo of farmers during a Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar
File photo of farmers during a Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar


The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Monday clarified that it did not give the 'Delhi Chalo' call for 13 February and strongly condemned the Centre's handling of the protest, alleging that an atmosphere of terror is being created to frighten people.

The SKM, along with the central trade unions (CTUs) has given a call for a nationwide strike and a rural bandh on 16 February. Several other unions and sectoral organisations have supported the call.

The 'Delhi Chalo' call for 13 February has been issued by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political), a splinter group of the original SKM, and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha.

The SKM has expressed anguish over the Narendra Modi government's handling of the protests by setting up sheets of iron nails, barbed wires and concrete barricades on the highways at the Punjab and Delhi borders.

While clarifying that the Delhi Chalo call for 13 February has not been issued by the SKM and it has nothing to do with the protest, the umbrella body of farmers' bodies said the other organisations have a right to protest. It is also the responsibility of the Union government to treat such protests in a democratic manner instead of resorting to excessive state repression, it added.

"The administration is imposing section 144 in and around Delhi and Haryana and diverting the traffic without any prior advisory to the public. It is creating an atmosphere of terror to frighten people. The Modi government is treating the protesters as if they are enemies of the country," they said.

"SKM urges PM Modi to clarify why his government is not ready for discussion with the platforms of farmers and workers in the context of the countrywide Grameen Bandh and Industrial/ Sectoral Strike call on 16 February on the demand of people's livelihoods?" they said.

SKM also condemned the arrest of several activists and farmer leaders from organisations that are part of SKM in Madhya Pradesh. "SKM reminds Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Mohan Yadav that India has a Constitution that enshrines the right to protest for all citizens. SKM appeals to all the political parties and the class and mass organisations of all sections to condemn this highhandedness by the Modi administration," they said.

In Madhya Pradesh, SKM's five state leaders, including Kisan Sabha's Ram Narayan Kuraria, his wife and AIDWA leader Anjana Kuraria, Kisan Sangharsha Samithi's Aradhana Bhargava, BKU (Tikait)'s Anil Yadav and NAPM's Rajkumar Sinha were arrested and jailed under section 151 of CRPC. Many activists were arrested in various parts of the state.

"The repression by the Union and the state governments under the BJP will be rebuffed by the people. The farmers and workers with the support of all sections of the people will ensure Industrial/ Sectoral Strike and Grameen Bandh is massive, vibrant and successful," they added.

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