Farm Bills: Punjab Farmers Rise Up In Anger

farm bills

Punjab Farmers Movement reaches a crescendo in shimmering spark of resistance against Agricultural Land Ordinances and preparation for bandh on September 25th

One of the most intense agitations in recent times has ignited in the state of Punjab on the issue of Agricultural land ordinances by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan)There is hardly an adjective to do justice to the crescendo or mental resilience of the protestors in areas of Patiala and Badal.It literally embarrassed the ruling class parties in their very belly.15000 persons assembled daily and in the night around 6000 people continued the protest. The fury or wrath of the farmers of Punjab was expressed at its very zenith, reminiscent of an Ocean or an inextinguishable flame.31 Organizations supported the protest.

The most notable support came from the Kisan Sangharsh Commitee.Other organizations who offered support included Punjab Students Union,Naujwan Bharat Sabha ,Democratic Teachers front,Motormen services Union,,Electricty workers Union,Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union ,Punjab Loksabyacharak Manch ,Kirti Kisan Union,Pendu Mazdoor Union etc.All speakers reflected the tyranny of the Agricultural ordinances on every sphere of society and how this attack on the peasantry was part of an overall onslaught on the people. The integration of the students, youth and working class had great significance here. All the speakers explained how it was part and parcel of the Imperialist globalization and how in essence the ruling classes literally patronised the corporates. They pleaded on the people not to be hoodwinked by the pretensions of the ministers condemning the bills, like the Akali Dal leaders.The casteist and communal nature and aspirations of the ruling class agenda was highlighted as well as their nefarious objective of breaking the unity of the peasantry and all other exploited classes. The essence of the anti-people economic policies at the Centre was summed up connecting the link between Hindutva politics and imperialism.

What was notable was the unity prevailing amongst so many section s of revolutionary and democratic forces to enable such massive upsurge to crystallize. It was a tribute to the incisive planning and qualitative mass work. The support of the landless agricultural labour to this was positive who need to be integrated into the broader movement. Above all the peasantry understood that it was not just about opposing the bills but building a sustained movement on a broader and sharper scale to confront the pro-corporate tentacles of globalization. The fact that for so many continuous days the peasantry could take the ruling classes to ransom speaks volumes of the painstaking work of the BKU(Ugrahan) and adherence to massline.Also praiseworthy was the supporting groundwork of the Kisan Sangarsh Commitee from Amritsar and the moral support by other members of the revolutionary democratic contingent of Punjab.

Whatever the differences of the peasant organizations their tacit or mutual support to each other was very positive. The BKU Ugrahan did not formally joint the front formed by the All India Kisan Sangarsh Commitee on grounds that it was seeking alliance with opportunist or reactionary sections. However morally it granted full support to their demands.

Farmer unions pledged not to allow corporate officials to enter grain markets and purchase anything. “Capt Amarinder Singh had promised a loan waiver to all farmers. The Congress government is left with a little over a year and still there are no signs of any waiver,” said Joginder Singh Ugrahan, a senior farmer leader.

Farmer leaders alleged that the Central Government was determined on selling on a plate the entire farming sector to big multi-nationals, which would eventually destroy shopkeepers, arhtiyas and the farming community.

In Muktsar too, there was no subsiding in the farmers’ stir at Badal village, even though the SAD, an ally of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, voted against a contentious farm Bill on Tuesday. The farmers sought immediate cancellation of all contentious Bills. The farmers pitched a tent close to the residence of Badals. They even made a stage, organising revolutionary plays and singing songs. Besides, a community kitchen was been set up.

“For the success of protests at Patiala and Badal village against the three contentious Bills, rural households had started liberally contributed grocery items, milk, vegetables and other things to protesters. Thus, the BKU (Ugrahan) had sufficient quantity of essential commodities for its both protests.

“We made announcements in villages before the start of our protests. Within hours, a majority of residents reached us with bags of flour, packets of sugar and vegetables. Since we cannot store supplies at the protest sites, we have kept these in villages and sending it to protesters as per their requirement,” said Dharminder Pashore, Lehra block president, BKU (Ugrahan).

The union had set up stage management, langar and transport committees to ensure timely distribution of food, tea and water among protesters daily. As per a rough estimate, around 2,000 members have been included in the committees to ensure smooth completion of all work. “I have contributed 20 kg flour and one kg sugar. Many others have contributed groceries as per their capacity as it’s our fight against the Central Government,” said Balwinder Kaur, a resident of Pashore village.

Apart from residents, gurdwaras also prepared langar and supplying it to protesters. A gurdwara committee from Sangrur supplied rice to protesters in Patiala today. “Many gurdwara committee members are calling us as they want to supply langar to protesters. We are preparing a list so that the food does not go waste,” said Rajpal Singh, a BKU leader.

Apart from participating in the protest along with union members, many farmers have been reaching the protest sites in their own vehicles to express solidarity with farmers.

Baba Baliyar Welfare trust did commendable service by offering food and water supply to the protestors day and night in the mist of the scorching heat.

The protestors have now temporarily suspended the agitation in Patiala and Badal to prepare for the massive State wide protest on September 25th which will include a rail Roko.The preparations for this are reminiscent of the fervour built up of an army preparing for a battle. The 25th bandh should comprise one of the most defining protest sin the history of the peasant movement in Punjab striking the tentacles of imperialism at its very chord.

Massive preparations have been made to galvanize democratic forces for the September 25th protest,particularly by forces of the Kirti Kisan Union.Crystallization is taking place to hit the rulers at their strongest point. It is remarkable the manner the Kirti Kisan Union is engulfing so many areas of Punjab to shimmer spark of resistance for Bandh. They have literally influenced the very thick of the skin of the masses.

In other parts of Punjab on the same scale the torch of resistance has been lit by Organizations participating under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangarsh Commitee.The most predominant participants here was the Kirti Kisan Union ,BKU(Krantikari) and BKU(Dakaunda)The pro-imperialist nature of the bills was elaborated with deep penetration and anger simmered at its boiling point. The most notable mass work was undertaken by the Kirti Kisan Union leaving no stone unturned in galvanising everyone.

Kirti Kisan Union organised rallies at village Chak Gandha Singh Wala, Bahmanwala, Takhtmalana, Jammuana, Waring, Kotli Sanghar, Thandewala for preparations of Punjab closure on September 25 Strong response from farmers. State Vice President of Kirti Kisan Union Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala, Youth Wing State Leader Harpreet Jhabelwali, District Leader Harkirat Kotli, Gurvinder Kotli, Jaswinder Bhana, Covener Ramandeep Chak, Kanwarjit Chak etc.

In villages of Joran and Todapur the effigy of Narendra Modi was burnt under leadership of Kirti Kisan Union. Mobilization campaign was also undertaken in villages of Ferozepur and Faridkot.

In villages of Jhabewala and Deepsinghwala shopkeepers were reached who promised to support bandh.

In Ropar the Muslim brotherhood offered their total support which is of great value.

On 22nd the Naujwan Bharat Sabha staged a cycle rally from Faridkot to Sikar in support of bandh.

Revolutionary intellectuals also supported the bandh on 25th.

Women’s Jagriti Manch Punjab has announced to support Punjab shutdown by 34 farmer organizations on September 25 Organization’s state president Bibi Gurbakhsh Kaur Sangha and state committee member Rupinder Pal Kaur said the Central Modi government has passed three anti-farmer agriculture bills in the parliament despite the sharp protest of farmers across the country and proved that they are indigenous foreign corporates. This is the hand of the. She said that with these anti-farmer steps of Modi government, not only farming but also the economy of the whole country will be shaken. They said the women will be involved in this closure.

Report based on information from BKU(Ugrahan) secretary Sukhdev Singh Khokri and Tribune News.

Harsh Thakor is an  independent writer [email protected]



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