Kolkata: As All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee launched it nationwide free toll plaza campaign, in support of their demands for withdrawal of pro-corporate farm laws, Kolkata today witnessed several solidarity rallies organized by different organizations.
All India Ekta Foundation and Good Human Foundation called for an all-faith march from Maula Ali More to Park Circus in central Kolkata.
Christian and Buddhist religious figures joined hands with Hindu-Muslim and Sikh community leaders to underline their united support to the ongoing farmer’s movement at Delhi borders. The sane people of all communities should stand by the farmers who have resolved to continue their movement as long as the Centre refuses to rollback, they said. Kolkata has a tradition of all-faith marches, as we have seen during anti-CAA protests in pre-lockdown months.
A good number of women too participated in the march.
The slogans like “Kala Kanoon Wapas Karo, Kisan Tum Sangharsh Karo, Hum Tumharey Sath Hai. Hindu- Muslim Sikh Isaai, Apas Mei Hain Bhai-Bhai,” rented the city air.
Bachchan Singh Saral, a 82-year-old journalist reminded today’s generation about the Indian dependence on food-grain aids from the US and other European countries. Recalling the years of food scarcity and its impact on the poor people, he cautioned against Narendra Modi government’s recent farm laws as these would bring those days back.
“Indian farmer redeemed our country from that shame of foreign doles and made the country largely self sufficient in food-grain production. They toil since early morning when urban middle class people still enjoy the warmth of their bed. Despite facing enormous crisis, a large section of Indian population still depends on agriculture related works. Now this government has brought the laws to ensure the monopoly of big corporates like Ambani and Adanis in agri-produce marketing in the name of removing middleman and mandi corruptions, “Saral said.
He pointed out that the Centre has also changed the act related to essential commodities to allow unlimited hoardings of food-grains including pulses as well as onion and potatoes. “All these moves will hurt not only farmers as but also urban poor and middle class. The current rise in good grains and vegetables prices is already showing the ill-effects of the laws,” he added.
Wali Rahmani, a well-known young activist in his early twenties echoed the veteran. During the pre -lockdown movement of Anti-CAA movement, he had always reminded the friendship of freedom movement martyrs Ashfaqullah Khan and Ramprasad Bismil, the comrades of Bhagat Singh.
“Thirty percent of India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) comes from farming sector. The farmers who provide us food are now being forced to suffer the bitter cold under the open sky for 17 days by the Delhi Darbar. it is a shameful thing for the country. After students and doctors, now farmers are protesting against successive decisions of Modi regime. It is a big question that BJP is winning elections despite growing disenchantment?” Wali wondered.
Amid the chants that Kisan Tum Agey Bado, Hum Tumhary Sath Hai and Kisan Andolan Zindabad, eNewsroom talked to one of the organisers, Rafay Siddiqui.
“Farmers have been committing suicides in increasing numbers as they have failed to recover their production costs since last few decades. Now Modi government has added to their miseries by passing the laws which will effectively end the government-controlled Minimum Support Price (MSP) system. This gives a chance to big corporate groups like Adanis and Ambanis to buy agri-produces at their set price. Actually, the prime minister has spent a fortune on his pre-poll branding, thanks to the generous support of his crony capitalists. Now he is paying them back,” Rafay added.