Leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha agricultural unions are due to meet again at the end of this week for the first time since their mass unrest at the Delhi borders ended last month.
However, leaders say the government has yet to deliver on its promises to set up a committee to review guaranteed minimum support prices for crops and withdraw complaints against farmer protesters across the country. states, including the nation’s capital and Uttar, where people vote. Pradesh.
“We have ended our year-long unrest and postponed further action based on written assurance from the government. But so far there have been no further developments on the issue of the MSP committee from the government side, ”said Yudhvir Singh, general secretary of the Tikait faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), who had formed the largest number of UP demonstrators at the Ghazipur border in Delhi.
“The SKM will meet on January 15 to take stock and review the state of government actions to keep its promises, and to decide on our next steps,” he added.
When SKM leaders suspended their agitation on December 9, it was on the basis of a proposal signed by the agriculture secretary and also negotiated through the Home Office. He said the MSP committee announced by the prime minister would include SKM leaders and also pledged to compensate the relatives of those who died during the protests and withdraw complaints against the protesters.
Although the agreement promised that cases filed in all Union territories and Delhi would be withdrawn “with immediate effect”, a month later, no action has yet been taken in those areas where the cases of police fall under the purview of the Union Home Office, Singh said.
The deal also said the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana had agreed to withdraw the cases, but only the latter started the process. process.
“Haryana began taking action on this by issuing a notification on December 23, ordering that all cases filed from December 9, 2020 be withdrawn. The process is underway. The process of verifying victims for the compensation of 140 martyrs has also started in the state, ”said Abhimanyu Kohar, spokesperson for Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, another major partner of the SKM platform.
The state government said 256 cases had been filed against protesters. However, SKM estimated that 48,000 farmers were involved, as each first briefing report included dozens of named protesters and hundreds of anonymous protesters.
In the UP and Uttarakhand, which will go to the polls next month, no action has been taken to withdraw the FIRs so far.
The Centre’s inability to take action against Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra Teni for his alleged role in the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri is also a thorny issue for agricultural leaders in those states.
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Although SKM leaders insisted they would hold the government accountable for its written commitments, they admitted that recalling farmers to border sites for another mass unrest would not be viable in the near future.
“Most of the groups in Punjab who contributed in large numbers to the protest are now busy with the elections, so they might not be able to join a movement for the next two months. And we would also be busy campaigning against the BJP in the UP and Uttarakhand, ”said Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha association, affiliated to the left, and member of the SKM central committee. “If the government has not acted by January 15, we will democratically make a decision on the next step,” he added.
While two senior SKM leaders – Balbir Singh Rajewal and Gurnam Singh Chaduni – have launched their own political parties to challenge the Punjab polls, the SKM as a whole has, so far, claimed it will not campaign in favor of the Punjab. of no party.
“We want to raise the issues of farmers during elections, rather than campaigning for a party. Besides the PSM, we will raise the issue of upcoming free trade agreements, especially with Australia and Canada, which will hurt the dairy sector and other farmers. SKM must raise awareness and organize to be a strong national voice for all farmers, ”said Mr. Singh of BKU-Tikait.