Farmers’ protest will spread in more states till the BJP-led government fulfills its poll promise of 50 per cent more profit on cost of production and announce farm loan waiver, a farmers’ body warned today. Farmers, distressed over price fall following bumper crop this year, have been protesting peacefully in 162 districts in nine states, including Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, since June 1. However, the protest turned violent in Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh, killing five persons in police firing, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasabha (RKM) said. The newly formed RKM comprises 50-odd farmers bodies, including RSS’ satellite organisation — the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and its break-away group Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (RKMS). “Farmers protest was planned and did not occur all of a sudden. We started from Malwa region. The protest turned violent as Mandsaur farmers were upset when BKU withdrew the protest without consulting fellow farmers,” RKM national convenor and RKMS chief Shivkumar Sharma told reporters. It is “shameful” on the part of the government to allow police firing on innocent farmers. The killing of five persons will not discourage farmers as the protest will continue peacefully till the demands are met, he said.
Asked if sowing of kharif crops like paddy will not be affected due to protest, Sharma said, “Farmers will wear black band on their arms as mark of protest and continue sowing operation”.
Sowing of kharif (summer) crops has already started in some places and will pick up pace in the coming days as monsoon progresses across the country. On key demands, Sharma said that the Modi-led government had made a poll promise of giving 50 per cent more profit on cost of production.”We want that to be implemented as farmers conditions in the country is very bad. They are throwing their produce on streets as prices have fallen sharply.” “We also want the government to guarantee procurement of agri-commodities to ensure farmers get assured price. That apart, we want the government to waive farm loan. If the government can waive crores of corporate debt, why not farm loans,” he said.
A representation, seeking these demands, has been made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, but has not received any response.
In the last three years, the prime minister has not even given time to farmer’s organisations to discuss the issue. “Is not the government anti-farmers,” he asked.