The police violence on farmers yesterday at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border need to be condemned unconditionally. It is deeply disturbing that Delhi Police is claiming that no prior permission was taken by the farmer’s associations to enter the Delhi. The farmers had started their March from Hardwar several days ago which was much to the knowledge of the Uttar Pradesh government as its leaders including chief minister were trying to put various pressures on them and met some of the representatives of them too in Ghaziabad, as reported in the newspapers. How can a thing which is well known to the Uttar Pradesh state leadership is not known to Delhi Police. Ironically, a majority of the Delhi Police personnel actually are the sons of the soil belonging to the Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the children of farmers. But this is how the system work. Your oppression would be done by your children only to protect the powerful who are determined to destroy your livelihood.
Why do police need to resort to violence. Doesn’t police think that stopping the people who have walked from such far away places to speak to the power in Delhi for their long term demands would be adding to fire when we have thousands of people marching from a place to Delhi, When will police learn to act reasonably ? Second question, was there an order to stop the farmers at the border because that is more important as we have seen Delhi Police behaving reasonably well at many places when protests are organised in and around Parliament Street.
I am reminded of a similar incident which happened on the eve of October 2, 1994 when thousands of people had started from hill regions of Uttar Pradesh to demand for a separate hill state. The police at the outskirts of Roorkee did not allow the agitators who were in busses and fired upon them, killing several people. There were allegation of molestation of women but what happened after that was a wave of violence and outrage in Uttarakhand, which finally resulted in creation of the new state. However, the officers who ordered fire and were held responsible never really got prosecuted. How did this happen ? Why did the police stop the agitators on the border of the state ? Shouldn’t people have a right to protest in the capital city when the political leadership fail to respond to their questions.
The farmers of Western Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and elsewhere have been agitating for their demands. Will this government listen to the issue when it has created the problems. The thing is that the farm crisis is a deliberate attempt to compel the farmers leave their occupation and hand over it to the corporate sector. The cronies are waiting for the day when they become the dictators of India through its huge agrarian sector. We were always proud that about 70% of our rural population was depended on agriculture but now the government and its planners in the NITTI AYOG want to dismantle the well established farm sector and hand it over to the corporate. Farmer suicide will continue and none can stop this unless we look upon the issue seriously.
Yesterday, a majority of the board of directors of AMUL boycotted Narendra Modi’s programme at the AMUL Headquarters in Gujarat. We all know how AMUL was established and the dedicated service it has given to India but I am sure many in cronies circle envy AMUL’s position and will be positioning to build their own vampires.
This is the first government in the history of India which has killed the public sector openly and ashamedly. It has ministers who have business interests and sitting there just to finish off the public sector, the Railways, the Air India, ONGC, BHEL, BEL and many others.
The woes of farmers are not merely with Cotton or sugarcane issues. The whole campaign in the name of Gaumata and lynching of people itself is carefully orchestrated to finish the farming communities. If you see the leaders of the campaign, a majority of them are not farmers and belonging to brahmins, Banias and Rajput communities. Secondly, the pressure today is on farmers. The male progeny is unwanted. Resale of cows and buffaloes in the market is almost finished. There is tremendous pressure on the gaupalaks. How will they keep the animals which does not milch. The result is we are witnessing another form of distress in the rural India. The Guarakshaks are the anti farmers in real sense aggravating the farm crisis. Many among the farmers have supported them in the name their ‘jaati’ and ‘dharm’ but this is now thoroughly exposed. The cow campaign was nothing but a method to force farmer quit this and allow the entries of cronies in this huge diary market.
Secondly, the cronies too sale beef abroad. India’s beef market is huge and Sabbarwals, Aggrwals, Singhs, and others have big stake. Export ‘crop’ give you much compare to domestic product and hence create a crisis in the name of culture and then export the crisis abroad to reap huge harvest.
Just the day before United Nation’s Human Rights Council agreed to a draft UN Declaration on Rights of Peasants and Other people Working in Rural Areas which will be placed in the General Assembly and if passed, it would become a powerful instrument like the UN Declaration on Human Rights and other such international Covenents and Treaties.
This is a tribute to the farmers and other agricultural workers that their rights are being acknowledge internationally which
“Recognizing the special relationship and interaction between peasants and other people working in rural areas, and the land, water and nature to which they are attached and on which they depend for their livelihood,
Recognizing also the past, present and future contributions of peasants and other people working in rural areas in all regions of the world to development and to conserving and improving biodiversity, which constitute the basis of food and agricultural production throughout the world, and their contribution in ensuring the right to adequate food and food security which are fundamental to attaining the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The Human Right’s Council’s draft declaration express concern “that peasants and other people working in rural areas suffer disproportionately from poverty, hunger and malnutrition,
Concerned also that peasants and other people working in rural areas suffer from the burdens caused by environmental degradation and climate change,
Concerned further about peasants ageing around the world and youth increasingly migrating to urban areas and turning their backs on agriculture owing to the lack of incentives and the drudgery of rural life, and recognizing the need to improve the economic diversification of rural areas and the creation of non-farm opportunities, especially for rural youth,
Alarmed by the increasing number of peasants and other people working in rural areas forcibly evicted or displaced every year,
Alarmed also by the high incidence of suicide of peasants in several countries,
Stressing that peasant women and other rural women play a significant role in the economic survival of their families and in contributing to the rural and national economy, including through their work in the non-monetized sectors of the economy, but are often denied tenure and ownership of land, equal access to land, productive resources, financial services, information, employment or social protection, and are often victims of violence and discrimination in a variety of forms and manifestations,
Stressing also the importance of promoting and protecting the rights of the child in rural areas, including through the eradication of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, the promotion of quality education and health, protection from exposure to chemicals and wastes, and the elimination of child labour, in accordance with relevant human rights obligations, of quality education and health, protection from exposure to chemicals and wastes, and the elimination of child labour, in accordance with relevant human rights obligations,
Stressing further that several factors make it difficult for peasants and other people working in rural areas, including small-scale fishers and fish workers, pastoralists, foresters and other local communities to make their voices heard, to defend their human rights and tenure rights, and to secure the sustainable use of the natural resources on which they depend,
Recognizing that access to land, water, seeds and other natural resources is an increasing challenge for rural people, and stressing the importance of improving access to productive resources and investment in appropriate rural development, Convinced that peasants and other people working in rural areas should be supported in their efforts to promote and undertake sustainable practices of agricultural production that support and are in harmony with nature, also referred to as Mother Earth in a number of countries and regions, including by respecting the biological and natural ability of ecosystems to adapt and regenerate through natural processes and cycles,
Considering the hazardous and exploitative conditions that exist in many parts of the world under which many peasants and other people working in rural areas have to work, often denied the opportunity to exercise their fundamental rights at work, and lacking living wages and social protection,
Concerned that individuals, groups and institutions that promote and protect the human rights of those working on land and natural resources issues face a high risk of being subject to different forms of intimidation and of violations of their physical integrity,
Noting that peasants and other people working in rural areas often face difficulties in gaining access to courts, police officers, prosecutors and lawyers to the extent that they are unable to seek immediate redress or protection from violence, abuse and exploitation,
Concerned about speculation on food products, the increasing concentration and unbalanced distribution of food systems and the uneven power relations along the value chains, which impair the enjoyment of human rights,
Reaffirming that the right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized,
Recalling the right of peoples to exercise, subject to the relevant provisions of both International Covenants on Human Rights, full and complete sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources,
Recognizing that the concept of food sovereignty has been used in many States and regions to designate the right to define their food and agriculture systems and the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods that respect human rights,
Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he or she belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the present Declaration and in national law,
Reaffirming the importance of respecting the diversity of cultures and of promoting tolerance, dialogue and cooperation,’
The above text which I produced in a few paragraphs are not the entire draft declaration but just kind of a preamble which has 28 articles like other UN Declarations. The extensive document shows how societies and countries world over feel about the role of peasants and agrarian reforms in strengthening our food culture and biodiversity but India’s cronies never accept that. The educated elite funded and supported by these cronies make agriculture a sector to be despised. The above document which acknowledge the world done and express concern over the plight of the farmers world over is a reminder for the government that farm issue is not merely price of sugarcane and fertilizers which you have become habitual of. It is much bigger for the safety of our food sovereignty.
So, it is terrible that when the world celebrate that peasants and their contribution is being acknowledged and there is concern, the farmers back home in India are being fired upon. Sadly, on the day when we were celebrating the birthday of a son of soil who came the slogan ” Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’. Lal Bahadur Shastri would never even thought that one day the Jawans would fire at the Kisans just because they were exercising their democratic right to protest and that too perfectly peacefully and on his birthday. How will the country look into this. Well the media funded by the cronies is already started skipping this news and creating a new one Ram Mandir Babari Masjid issue, the surgical strike. This will happen but we hope people will remember all this and respond democratically when their time come.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: firstname.lastname@example.org