Modi Govt Uses Coronavirus Excuse to Stop Farmers’ Protest in Delhi

The chief minister (CM) of Punjab Amarinder Singh holding a massive demonstration on November 4, 2020 in New Delhi to raise his voice against the new farm laws introduced by the government of PM Narendra Modi. Photo: Punjab CM
The chief minister (CM) of Punjab Amarinder Singh holding a massive demonstration on November 4, 2020 in New Delhi to raise his voice against the new farm laws introduced by the government of PM Narendra Modi. Photo: Punjab CM

Since farmers are trying to find an excuse to end their weak protests, they are showing their false satisfaction just on a meeting invitation from the government.

By Rakesh Raman

Although the farmers’ protests against the new farm laws have largely failed, farmers have announced to hold demonstrations in New Delhi on November 26 and 27.

But Delhi Police – which is controlled by PM Narendra Modi’s government – has denied permission to farmers with the excuse that the farmers’ gathering will spread coronavirus in Delhi.

The farmers in Punjab have been protesting against the new farm laws introduced by the Modi government. Since there is a lackluster response from other Indian states, only a handful of Punjab farmers are holding some directionless protests at different locations in the state.

After their meeting on November 13 with a couple of ministers in the Modi government, farmers claimed that it was a satisfactory meeting, although the Modi government did not accept any of the farmers’ demands.

The Modi government has categorically refused to withdraw the farm laws and it is not eager to accept any other demand of the farmers. Since farmers are trying to find an excuse to end their weak protests, they are showing their false satisfaction just on a meeting invitation from the government.

Today, as their protests are on the verge of collapse, farmers are virtually begging the Modi government for some concessions such as the minimum support price (MSP) – a price guaranteed by the government to buy some of the crops. The main reason for the failure of farmers’ protests is farmers’ illiteracy and lack of knowledge in the evolving agriculture business.

ALTERNATIVE FARMING MODEL 

While farmers are holding raw protests against the Modi government, there is a visible lack of intellect in their agitation. Farmers could not make an alternative farming model to counter the government’s laws, which ostensibly promise to increase farmers’ income.

While the opposition to the new laws is coming only from a few farmers in Punjab, there is no farmer organization or farm leader who could make a comprehensive document to educate the farmers on new farming concepts such as yield enhancement, environmentally sustainable practices, supply chain management, forward / backward integration, return on investment, online marketing, international farm trade, and so on.

All these concepts are supposed to make farming a sustainable business and increase farm productivity and farmers’ profitability. As the Modi government is also full of corrupt politicians and naive bureaucrats, it imposed its crude laws on farmers instead of educating them about the new agricultural practices.

Similarly, the Punjab government which is being run by old and obsolete politicians and primitive bureaucrats failed to engage with the protesting farmers who are facing extinction.

Punjab farmers must realize that politicians in all political parties are crooks who will never support their cause honestly. Also, the farmers in other states will never support Punjab farmers with the same intensity with which the Punjab farmers can struggle.

Under the given circumstances, the farmers in Punjab must develop a dedicated agricultural model for the state. This agricultural model should be a subset of a larger economic model that should ensure the autonomy of the state. 

In order to develop and implement such a model, all the 30-odd farmer unions of Punjab must unite and fight under a common banner. The need is to create an autonomous political organization comprising intellectuals and domain experts who can work selflessly to usher in a new era of prosperity and self-reliance in Punjab.

For now, it appears that the Modi government will succeed in getting its new farm laws accepted by farmers. And the denial of permission to hold protests in Delhi under the pretext of coronavirus is just a step in the direction of the imposition of new laws.

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.

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