Salute the Mahapanchayat in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan


A historic Shetkari Kamgar Mahapanchayat took place in yesterday in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan on November 28th, with at least 100 organisations coming under one umbrella. Peasants, workers, agricultural labourers, women, youth and students of all religions and castes from all over Maharashtra culminated at the venue, like an army marching in to celebrate the victory in terminating the farmers bills.. Several Samyukta Kisan Morcha leaders took part in the event today. On the eve of the winter session in which the centre proposes to move the bill to repeal the three farm laws, the Kisan Mazdoor Mahapanchayat hailed the historic farmers’ victory with a resolve to fight for Minimum Support Price (MSP) law and other demands. A large number of farmers and agricultural labourers from across Maharashtra had gathered at Azad Maidan, shouted slogans for the centre’s decision to repeal the laws in the wake of a year-long agitation.

In addition to celebrating the historic victory over the BJP-RSS government in getting the Farm Laws repealed, it also declared its determination to fight for the remaining demands. These include a central law to guarantee a just MSP and procurement, withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill, removal from the Cabinet and arrest of the butcher of Lakhimpur Kheri Ajay Mishra Teni, repeal of the four Labour Codes, an end to selling off the country through privatisation, halving the price of diesel, petrol, cooking gas and other essential commodities, doubling the days of work and wages under MNREGA and extending it to the urban areas.

SKM leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Darshan Pal, Hannan Mollah to name a few, addressed the gathering. Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar, Yudhvir Singh, Tajinder Singh Virk, Atul Kumar Anjaan, Rajaram Singh and others also spoke in addition to an activist from Lok Sangram Morcha of Punjab.

Tikait accused the central government of running away from a debate on MSP and other issues. “Several issues related to farming and labour sectors need attention, and we will travel all over the country to highlight them,” he said.

Speaking to the media, Tikait said the central government should bring a law to guarantee MSP. “Otherwise, January 26 (Republic Day) is not far and 4 lakh tractors and farmers all are there.”

The Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM) leader Ashok Dhawale said the Mahapanchayat also called for the defeat of the BJP in upcoming state assembly elections and the statewide local body elections in Maharashtra.

The Shaheed Kalash Yatra of the Lakhimpur Kheri martyrs, which began from Pune on October 27, traversed over 30 districts of Maharashtra in the last one month. In the morning, the Shaheed Kalash Yatra visited Hutatma Chowk, which commemorates the 106 martyrs of the Samyukta Maharashtra Struggle in the 1950s. After this, the ashes of the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre martyrs were immersed in the Arabian Sea off the Gateway of India in a special programme at around 4 pm, just after the Mahapanchayat at Azad Maidan.

Today is the death anniversary of great social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, and SKM pays rich homage to him.

I was privileged to witness this conference where anti-fascist spirit was escalated to a and leaders embarrassed the Modi led govt.. They projected the nexus between the RSS Hindutva politics and the nefarious anti-people agricultural policies .At the very root they highlighted how the farmer’s rights were mercilessly trampled on and they were alienated. The economic turmoil was illustrated with perfect examples. In it’s own right one of the most memorable democratic events in the state. .Around 50000 persons attended overall, with around 12000 participants occupying the actual assembly place. The meet testified or did justice to the death defying battle waged by the famers over a year displaying persistence  in volumes rarely transcended in the past.

I was most impressed with the speeches of  Darshan Pal,Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav , Hannan Mollah and Tajinder Singh Virk.

Yogendra Yadav most illustratively portrayed the harsh economic conditions prevailing and how the policies of the rulers reversed any progress.

Hannan Mollah referred to the instances when Sikhs most patriotically joined all anti imperialist movements and how till today they breathed the spirit of secularism at the highest pitch.

Tajinder Singh Virk  recounted how in Laxmipur Kher,the team of BJP cadre pounced on him and other  farmers ,like a lion attacking   it’s prey. He threw light not only on the barbarity of the incident, but how the rulers framed the farmers. Virk narrated how  Union MoS Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish Mishra, was driving one of those vehicles — and that he was targeted for leading the protest that day against the Minister’s remarks about farmers the previous week.

Darshan Pal reflected the incidents of January 26th in terms of the striking defiance of the farmers against the neo-fascist BJP party and the manner the agitators were framed as agents of ‘Khalistan.’He stressed on how it was imperative to build a secular movement confronting particularly Hindu communalism.Rakesh Tikait in depth projected the neo-fascist nature of the ruling BJP and how it framed persons as ‘Maoists’, ‘Islamists ’ or ‘Khalistanis.’He addressed the factor of economic exploitation including that of the police .Tikait congratulated the journalists present for boldly coming out in the dark hour of proto-fascism. He asserted that the protest was far from over and by no means the farmers should place faith in the Centre.Tikait recalled how Modi had been such a staunch protagonists of the MSP.

A woman Lok Sangram Morcha ,Punjab leader most vocally condemned neo-fascism of the BJP and saluted the relentless spirit of the farmers.

Whatever progressive connotations with strong conviction I assert that it isn’t enough to merely give a call to defeat the BJP Govt, but the oppressive anti people socio-economic order must be confronted at the very root. Dancing to the tune of opposition parties would virtually lead the farmer’s movement to capitulation.

Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai..Toured India, particularly Punjab . Written on Mass movements ,,Massline,Maoism on blogs like Democracy and Class Struggle and frontierweekly

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