New Delhi: Chants of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ (Hail soldiers, hail farmers), ‘Haq’ (right) and ‘Ayodhya nahi, karz maafi chahiye’ (Not Ayodhya, we want debt relief) resonated on Thursday as farmers took out a two-day Kisan Mukti March in the national capital, pressing for their demands.
The farmers, who marched to the Ramlila Ground Thursday where they stopped over for the night, will now proceed to Parliament Street on Friday. The Kisan Mukti March, also being called ‘Chalo Dilli’, aims to bring attention to the agrarian crisis of the country. The farmers are demanding a special 21-day session of the Parliament on the agrarian crisis and other related issues including debt relief and better minimum support price (MSP) for crops. The march is being led by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which is representing over 200 farmer outfits.
Farmers and rural labourers from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and other states converged in the national capital.
“Ab haq ke bina bhi kya jeena, yeh jeene ke samaan nahi (Life has no meaning without rights),” sang one of the performers at the ‘Kisan Night’ organised at Ramlila ground to lift up the spirits of the farmers.
Numerous women farmers, tied by the common thread of mounting bank loans, crop failure, lack of avenues to pay off debts and large dependent families, also hit the streets Thursday, hoping to make themselves heard in the power centre of the nation. Raising the banner of protest among them are women farmers who see themselves as worse than their male counterparts.
Many political leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference`s Farooq Abdullah, Trinamool Congress` Dinesh Trivedi, Loktantrik Janata Dal`s Sharad Yadav, social activists including Medha Patkar and journalist P. Sainath, have extended their support to the rally.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) has urged the entire country to stand up in solidarity with the community as the government has been “insensitive” to their demands. “Farmers who reached Delhi in the national capital to knock on the doors of Parliament and the government are demanding a loan waiver and adequate MSP for their produce. They at least want the Parliament to listen to their woes by having a special session,” said D Raja.