Thousands of farmers from across the country descended on Delhi on Monday for a two-day protest demanding a one-time loan waiver and increase in minimum support price for crops.
The farmers, under the aegis of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) comprising 184 peasant organisations, held a 'Kisan Mukti Sansad' at Parliament Street after marching from Ramlila Maidan.
It was the culmination of various marches that traversed 20,000 km highlighting the plight of farmers in the country, which started after the police firing on protesting farmers in Madhya Pradesh in June.
The agitators began their two-day protest after paying tributes to those killed in Mandsaur police firing, those who committed suicide and to the peasants of Yavatmal who died due to pesticide poisoning.
At the protest, AIKSCC convenor V M Singh felicitated Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetty, who left the NDA, and former CPM MLA Amra Ram for contributing to farmers' movements in Maharashtra and Rajasthan respectively.
'Won't spare cheaters'
Addressing the gathering, Shetty said Narendra Modi stormed to power in 2014 with the help of farmers who were promised that the minimum support price would be fixed at one and a half times the production cost. "We will not spare anyone found cheating farmers. We have the capability to overturn the ruling government. We will not sit quiet now."
CPM leader and All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah said the government has looted farmers by paying them less continuously and forcing them into debt. "This in turn resulted in the suicide of more than 5 lakh farmers in the country. We will not allow exploitation now. Farmers' organisations have consistently demanded loan waiver. Now, any small waivers cannot work for farmers; we need a comprehensive bill to ensure freedom from the debt cycle," he said.
Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan said farmers were being betrayed by politicians and government, but not any more.