Non-farmers also participate in agricultural unrest
They may not be directly involved in agriculture, but they have emerged as prominent faces in the movement against three farm laws enacted by the government in September to open up agricultural trade. They have also embraced the cause of growers over the years and are in the farmers’ fight simply out of a sense of activism.
Take, for example, Yogendra Yadav from Swaraj India, who has been an activist and election expert and has dabbled in politics. On Saturday, Yadav was in Rajasthan to mobilize farmers in the state to join the protest.
“I am here on the Rajasthan side of the border with Haryana to oversee the arrangements for our program to demonstrate on the Delhi-Jaipur highway. Thousands more farmers will join, now that the wedding season and the Rajasthan panchayat polls are over, ”Yadav told HT.
The laws allow companies to freely trade agricultural products outside the government-controlled mandi system, allow private traders to store large quantities of commodities for future sales, and establish new rules for contract farming. Farmers fear that the reforms could leave them at the mercy of private buyers.
The solution to the protest on the Delhi borders, where thousands have gathered for nearly three weeks, lies in repealing the laws, Yadav said, adding: “Agriculture needs reforms, but these are reforms that farmers have not sought.” .
Activist Kavitha Kuruganti, associated with the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), is equally adamant that the laws are aimed more at promoting corporate interests. “The fact of the matter is that these laws are focused on large corporations, against the interests of farmers and consumers, both,” he said.
Kiranjeet Singh Sekhon of the Kul Hind Kisan Federation said: “We demand the repeal of the laws against farmers,” adding: “All farmers unions have decided that we will fight until these agricultural laws are eliminated.”
Jagmohan Singh, Secretary General of State of the Dakaunda faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, says he has joined the farmers’ movement because “the new agricultural laws will ruin Punjab farmers and agricultural workers.”
“I want to support the working class, since these laws were made for the benefit of corporations,” he said.