Pan India unity of farmers and monumental success of Bharat Bandh has unnerved the Modi govt

The farmers are just following the path of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha to demand their rights, against which all machinations of the Modi govt have failed

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)

Arun Srivastava

It is now quite evident that the events that unfolded in Lakhimpur Kheri were triggered by a ‘warning’ issued to agitating farmers by Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra. “Face me, it will take just two minutes to discipline you fellows. I am not only a minister or a MP and MLA...People who know me even before I became a parliamentarian know that I never run away from taking a challenge. The day I accept the challenge you all have to leave not only Palia, but Lakhimpur itself," he purportedly said.

The very next day, his son allegedly rammed his car against farmers agitating at his native place Lakhimpur.

On September 27, addressing supporters in Lakhimpur Kheri, Ajay Mishra had warned that the farm protests were organised by “those who are not able to face Modiji”. “So, I want to say, mend your ways or you will face consequences. I will have you mend your ways in two minutes”.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which shared the video, said the farmers were mowed down while “dispersing from their protest at the helipad” and that BKU leader Tajinder Virk was deliberately targeted. Yogendra Yadav of the Jai Kisan Andolan, a Morcha constituent, said Sunday’s incident was another attempt to provoke the farmers to give up their peaceful resistance and turn to violence.

He said the incident was “shocking” not just for the farmers’ movement but for all manner of people’s struggles. Yadav and farmer leader Darshan Pal said the movement would stay on course and remain peaceful. “The biggest strength of our movement is that it is peaceful. If we remain peaceful, we will win,” he said.

BJP has been using all kind of machinations to get farmers to give up their protests, just as it did in the case of Shaheen Bagh. If it succeeds in that mission, the farm laws will turn the farmers into paupers.

The importance of the sit-in strike could be gauged from the simple fact that in spite of sacrificing 800 colleagues and comrades, they continue to agitate against all odds.

It is relevant to mention here that the BJP-led Haryana government has resorted to the most blatant lies and dirty games. Its chief minister has openly directed party workers to ‘teach a lesson’ to the farmers while indulging in litigation. The state government was at no stage involved in negotiations with farmers. But in a petition, it claimed that it has set up a panel for holding talks with the protesting farm leaders who have refused to take part in talks intended to resolve the issue.

The fact is, the Union government with the consent of the Supreme Court, had set up a panel. But farmers refused to acknowledge it. They are not willing to accept anything less than scrapping of the laws.

The Union Agriculture Minister has had 10 rounds of talk with the farmers. While the farmers have been agitating for a year, the Haryana government set up a state level panel on September 15, 2021 to hold discussions with the farmers' bodies but they refused to come forward for talks on September 19. Since Haryana has no locus standi, its voice has no relevance; it cannot go against the stand of Narendra Modi. This was purely a move to trap the farmers.

Haryana government received a boost in its effort to create confusion with Supreme Court on Monday seeking responses from the leaders of 43 farmers' bodies, including Rakesh Tikait, Darshan Pal and Gurnam Singh who are leading protests at Delhi borders against the farm laws, on Haryana government's plea alleging that they have not been participating in talks with its panel to resolve the impasse over road blockade here.

Haryana has moved the application in the PIL filed by Monicca Agrawaal who has sought removal of road blockades at Delhi’s border saying that earlier it took 20 minutes to reach Delhi and now it is taking over two hours and people of the area are facing hardships due to protests at the UP Gate on Delhi border.

No one has alleged that the farmers are a threat to public order. Not even the lady whose petition has evoked strong action. The fact of the matter is that Haryana government had fired the first salvo against the farmers by putting barricades at the Haryana-Delhi border, digging up the highway and using force, including tear gas, and water cannons to prevent them from entering Delhi.

Starting from our freedom struggle, history is replete with instances of agitations and dharnas at public places. What farmers are doing is nothing new. They have been following the path of Gandhi’s Satyagrah.

The basic point is that if the laws were framed by the Modi govt for the benefit of farmers, who are unwilling to accept them, why is it insisting on having them in place? Whose interest does it intend to serve? It is certainly not serving that of the farmers, but that of crony corporates.

It seems that the immense success of the recent Bharat Bandh call has unnerved Modi and his aides. This was for the first time in Independent India that a bandh across the country was so successful.

Some time back, CJI N V Ramana had correctly observed that the nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and police has been at the root of most problems in the country. He was also planning to constitute a standing committee to look into this aspect. The apex court has to look into farmers plights also.

(IPA Service)

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