Mumbai-like farmers' march to Parliament in Nov end

Mumbai-like farmers' march to Parliament in Nov end

PTI File photo of the farmers' march in Mumbai

Reminiscent of the protests in Mumbai earlier this year, farmers have planned a march to Parliament on November 29 to pressurise the government to call a special session to discuss their demands.

The two-day 'Kisan Mukti March' starting on November 29, which has in its leadership organisations like All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Yogendra Yadav-led Jai Kisan Andolan, Medha Patkar-led NAPM and V M Singh's Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, assumes significance as the mobilisation comes ahead of Lok Sabha polls and at a time farmers are "angry" at the Centre.

The culmination of the march could see leaders from secular Opposition parties joining the protest on Parliament Street on November 30, making it another platform for displaying unity and express solidarity with the protesters. Organisers said they have invited all parties to the march and are waiting to see what stand they would take on farmers' issues.

The march, organised by All India Kisan Struggle Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) representing around 200 farmers' outfits, will also see ex-servicemen fighting for One Rank One Pension (OROP) as well as students, youth, lawyers, artists, techies and activists under the banner 'Nation for Farmers' joining the farmers.

This time, protesters will also be armed with the latest reports about Ministry of Agriculture admitting that demonetisation hit them as farmers were unable to buy seeds and fertilisers for their winter crops due to the cash crunch. "The Prime Minister should apologise to farmers for destroying the livelihood of farmers through demonetisation," AIKS Joint Secretary Vijoo Krishnan, one of the organisers, told DH.

The protesters are demanding a 21-day special joint session of Parliament exclusively to discuss farm distress and their demands like loan waiver and minimum support price among others, which were raised during a series of protests by several farmers' outfits across the country in the past two years.

On September 5, AIKS had mobilised tens of thousands of farmers in the capital in a protest while Mumbai in March had witnessed an iconic 'Long March'. The firing on agitating farmers in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur in June 2017 had given an impetus to the farmers' protests in the country and the Opposition has been rallying farmers to take on Modi-led BJP.

The organisers have also started an online petition to President Ram Nath Kovind detailing their problems and their demand for the joint session. They also urged him to address the joint session.

"...There was a midnight joint session of the Parliament to discuss the Goods and Services Tax. Surely the precariousness of the lives of millions of citizens merits the undivided attention of Parliament and thereby its commitment to finding enduring solution," the petition read.

"We bring to your attention that this demand for a special Parliamentary session emerges after numerous protests, petitions, pleadings by distressed farmers, labourers, forest communities, fisherfolk and the foot soldiers of our country’s literacy and health care programmes – anganwadi, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife workers, have failed to garner the attention of successive governments to the agrarian crisis," it said.

The organisers have also set up a website where content is available in several Indian languages and a Twitter handle.