Farmers under the banner of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) lifted their dharna after 21 days from near the local residence of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann today, after the government assured them of fulfilling their demands. The farmers should be congratulated for demonstrating such resilience and BKU(Ugrahan) for organisational skill. The protest terminated after a meeting was held between the farmers and Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Dhaliwal at Circuit House.
Joginder Singh Ugrahan, chief, BKU (Ugrahan), while addressing farmers during the victory rally, said, “CM Mann had accepted our demands on October 7, but we decided to sit on the road in order to be assured of our demands in writing. We wanted to know the manner the government will fulfill our demands. The delay in giving us wriiten guarantee demonstrates that the present Aam Aadmi Party government is in essence no different from others. We should be prepared to the fullest to pose a challenge against the Centre to enable our remaining demands to be fulfilled.”
It is of importance that such short term victories should never make the farming community complacent, but sharpen their tentacles in chalking out a long term strategy to confront the ruling classes.
Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Jorwal said a team of senior officials delivered the written assurances guaranteeing demands to farmers today.
The BKU (Ugrahan) leaders declared that the AAP government promised to purchase paddy on the basis of minimum support price (MSP), release pending payment of moong within 15 days and provide compensation of crop loss till November 30.
Other major demands include inaction against farmers for burning stubble due to lack of machines and resources and scrapping of cases registered last year, renstructuring of canal system till January 31, 2023, no action undertaken against farmers protesting outside Zira ethanol plant, land acquisition for roads in accordance the demand of farmers and granting of financial aid to dairy farmers who lost their cattle due to the lumpy skin disease.
Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary, BKU (Ugrahan), guarded against complacency stating , “We should not sit at our homes, but start strengthening our organisation to fight against the central government. In the coming days, we will launch a special campaign in villages to spread awareness about our pending demands.”
In coming days the farmers struggle is likely to be intensified. The farmers are grasping the nefarious games of ruling class parties and not falling in the trap of being hoodwinked.
Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist who has covered mass movements around India and frequently visited Punjab