The farm leaders were also eager to run away from the protest sites because people were asking them about the details of donations that they have received during the past one year.
By Rakesh Raman
Hundreds of Indian farmers – who had been protesting for the past over a year against the contentious farm laws and other policies of the government headed by prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi – have decided to call off their agitation abruptly.
While the government has not accepted their demands, the farmers have conceded to a diktat issued by PM Modi who asked them to vacate the protest sites around Delhi after making a dictatorial TV announcement on November 19 to repeal the farm laws which were not yet enforced.
The demands of the protesting farmers included withdrawal of all the agitation-related police cases, compensation to the families of farmers who died during the agitation, a memorial for deceased farmers, permission to burn stubble in fields which spreads lethal pollution, and alteration in the Electricity Amendment Bill. It is learnt that the government has discarded all these demands, although it has given some perfunctory assurance to farmers.
One of their main demands was the legal guarantee by the government to give a minimum support price (MSP) for certain crops. But the government did not accept this demand. The debacle of farmers’ protest can also be assessed from the fact that their appeal to arrest Ajay Mishra, India’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), fell on deaf ears. Mishra is accused of a conspiracy to murder at least four farmers and another person on October 3 at Lakhimpur Kheri in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) state.
It is alleged that the farmers were run over by a car in the Minister’s convoy, driven by his son Ashish Mishra. The police have filed a case of murder against Ashish Mishra who was arrested on October 9. But the farm leaders had demanded the dismissal and arrest of Minister Ajay Mishra also. While Modi did not remove minister Mishra, the wicked farm leaders have decided to forget the murder of their companions.
So, the Modi government has not accepted any of the farmers’ demands formally, except repealing the farm laws which were not actually effective. But the dishonest farmers are giving the impression that the Modi government has accepted all their demands. Farm leaders often hoodwinked the public by saying that they will get Modi dethroned before ending their protest. While they could not dethrone Modi, he has managed to throw them away.
It is being conjectured that the top farm leaders have either been bribed or intimidated to end their protests immediately in and around Delhi. The shameless farm leaders are even encouraging the gullible protesters to organize victory processions to celebrate their success, although they have failed in their movement. The revocation of theoretical farm laws is not going to end the persisting misery of most farmers who are facing extreme economic hardships.
One of the reasons for abruptly terminating the agitation is the political aspirations of certain Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) farm leaders who were spearheading the farm protests. Particularly, the SKM leaders from Punjab have sold off the interests of all the farmers because they want to contest the Punjab Assembly election which is scheduled to take place early next year, 2022.
The farm leaders were also eager to run away from the protest sites because people were asking them about the details of donations that they have received during the past one year. It is believed that the top SKM leaders have collected hundreds of crores of rupees from donors in India and abroad. But there is no transparent record of the money collected and spent. Therefore, the misappropriation of public funds by a few leaders cannot be ruled out.
Rural Resistance: Protests by Farmers in India
This article is part of our exclusive editorial section “Rural Resistance: Protests by Farmers in India” under RMN News Service.
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God only knows the real reason, but of late some SKM leaders were in a sudden hurry to kill the protest that was supported by thousands of naive farmers at the outskirts of Delhi as well as in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh (UP). The unconditional obedience of farmers gives the impression that their movement was not a protest against the government, but it was a secret collaboration with the Modi regime which was imposing the laws.
You can click here to watch a related video in Punjabi. The video is also given below.
Now, as a result of farmers’ defeat, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will have an unencumbered run in the upcoming elections in different states of India. There is also a likelihood that after winning the state elections, the Modi government will introduce the same or similar farm laws that it has repealed now. Then it will be difficult for the farmers to reunite and launch the agitation that they have abandoned now.
The SKM leaders ostensibly urged the Modi government to call them for a face-to-face discussion for accepting their demands. However, the Modi government simply ignored farmers’ request disdainfully and communicated with them through a couple of letters, phone calls, and Modi’s despotic decree on TV.
Any respectable person would have rejected such a largess thrown on them like a brickbat. But the pliant farm leaders – who are in a baffling haste to flee from the protest sites – have obediently accepted the order delivered through a TV monologue of the supreme leader.
To further bamboozle the innocent protesters, the SKM leaders are maintaining that it is not the termination but the suspension of their agitation. They have announced to hold a meeting again in January 2022 to decide the new shape of their protest. So, their deception is not yet over. The cunning farm leaders will come back to deceive and betray you again.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
He also produces F A C T (Farm And Crop Times) news magazine on global farming and agricultural affairs and manages the information section “Rural Resistance: Protests by Farmers” which covers the agricultural reforms and ongoing farmers’ protests in India.
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