Farmers Prepare for January 26 Parade, Anger Grows Over NIA Action
Next round of talks Jan 22
The unprecedented nationwide farmers struggle led by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) is set to intensify as it completes two months on Republic Day, January 26, 2021.
The Kisan Parade in the form of a huge tractor march on the Outer Ring Road to Delhi will undoubtedly be a massive form of farmers’ resistance since independence. It will have tens of thousands of tractors and over a million farmers.
Hectic preparations are on by all Kisan organizations in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to make it a historic show of strength against the pro-corporate Farm Laws and the BJP-RSS government that has thrust them upon the country by murdering parliamentary democracy.
Several states are also set for massive actions in the form of mahapadavs or sit-ins by tens of thousands of peasants and workers in the state capitals in the coming week. The SKM had given a call for huge actions at the state capitals from January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to January 26, Republic Day-from a march to the Raj Bhawans in every state to Kisan Mazdoor Parades.
West Bengal will hold its three-day mahapadav from January 20-22. Maharashtra will hold its four-day action from January 23-26. Similarly, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and other states will also organize huge sit-ins during this period.
Lakhs of peasants and workers, as well as women, youth, students and sections of the middle class will participate in all these countrywide struggles that will squarely target the central government. Along with repeal of the three Farm Laws and the four Labour Codes and the withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill, these struggles will also echo another cardinal demand of the Delhi struggle for a law mandating MSP at the C2 + 50 % rate and also guarantee of procurement.
On January 13/14, coinciding with Lohri and Sankranti, bonfires were lit of copies of the hated black Farm Acts in literally thousands of places all over India. Lakhs of farmers took part. This action succeeded in taking the struggle down to the village level.
In Kerala, in a unique form of struggle, over one million peasants formed human chains in villages in the state. Torchlight processions, tractor marches were also held in innumerable places in the country.
On January 18, Mahila Kisan Day was widely observed at all the five Delhi borders of the farmers struggle, and also across the length and breadth of the country. This call of the SKM acknowledged the lion’s share of women in agricultural operations. AIDWA, along with several other women’s organizations and groups, mobilized tens of thousands of women all over.
The BJP-led central government still remains adamant, and also vindictive. Nine rounds of talks with the SKM have led to no results so far. In the tenth round held on January 20, the government was forced to climb down a bit and it offered to put the three Farm Laws on hold for 18 months and appoint a committee of Government and Kisan representatives to seek a way out.
The SKM will decide its response to this offer and the next round of talks is scheduled for January 22. It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had already stayed the implementation of these laws until further notice.
However, in a display of Government vindictiveness, scores of notices were sent last week by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to several participants in the farmers struggle, including writers and journalists, trying to link them with Khalistani groups. This has enraged the farmers organizations even more and they are determined to fight back.
The four-member biased committee appointed by the Supreme Court has come a cropper with the withdrawal by one of its members Bhupinder Singh Mann. This has further demolished the credibility of the committee. The central government made attempts to use the Supreme Court to try and ban the Kisan Parade on January 26. But the Supreme Court did not oblige this time.
Come what may, lakhs and lakhs of farmers and workers around Delhi, and all across the country, will hit the streets in the coming week to teach a lesson to this most pro-corporate, anti-democratic and fascistic government that India has ever seen since its independence.
Ashok Dhawale is the president of the All India Kisan Sabha.