Farmers form umbrella body for nationwide stir for debt waiver


New Delhi, June 16 : To highlight the miserable condition of peasants across the country, a large body of farmers from various associations on Friday came under a single banner here and announced a countrywide agitation, which will start from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh and culminate in Champaran in Bihar.

The farmers, coming under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, will start their nationwide struggle on July 6 from Mandsaur in the form of a march to arrive in Champaran on October 2.

Satna: Farmers clash with police during a demonstration in Satna of Madhya Pradesh on June 16, 2017. (Photo: IANS)
Satna: Farmers clash with police during a demonstration in Satna of Madhya Pradesh on June 16, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

“This is a historic day for farmers. It is after a very long time that so many farmer unions have come under one roof to become part of a unified movement.

“A total of 130 associations have already consented to become part of the committee… we are expecting more to join soon,” Yogendra Yadav, National President of Swaraj Abhiyan and also a member of the Kisan Committee, said addressing the media.

The committee decided to raise with the central government two issues — assurance of Minimum Support Price (MSP), as recommended by the M.S. Swaminathan panel in its report, and waiver of all farm debts.

Yadav said the march would be the first leg of a bigger movement, and this time they would take “the farmer struggle to its logical conclusion”.

V.M. Singh, the National President of Rashtriya Kisan-Mazdoor Party and also the Convenor of the working committee of newly formed body, pointed out that the two things on agenda were promised by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi also.

“It has been three years now since he made those promises… He had said that he will ensure 50 per cent profit above the cost of crop (as recommended by Swaminathan in the report) and will waive off farmers’ debts. We want to remind him to make good on his promises,” Singh said.

P. Ayyakannu, who had led Tamil Nadu farmers during the 40-day agitation at Jantar Mantar recently; Raju Shetty, Member of Parliament from Maharashtra; and Hannan Mollah, General secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, the peasant wing of Communist Party of India-Marxist, are also part of committee.

This is the 100th anniversary of the Champaran agitation with which Mahatma Gandhi started his protest in India against the British rule by championing the rights of Indigo farmers against the oppressive policies of the British.