The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) is holding a Kisan Mahapanchayat in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow today to press for a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) and to demand the dismissal of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son is involved in the 3 October Lakhimpur Kheri controversy.
The SKM is the umbrella organisation for the farmers’ unions.
The Kisan Mahapanchyat is taking place at the Eco Garden. The meeting had been scheduled before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on 19 November that three controversial farm laws would be repealed.
Although the Prime Minister surprised the protesters with his announcement, agitating farmer leaders have insisted that they will not relent until the three laws that seek to provide freedom to all formers are formally repealed in the parliament.
Meanwhile, they have indicated that they will continue to push for a statutory guarantee of MSP and the withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill.
Earlier, the constituents of the Kisan Mahapanchayat wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Modi, putting forth six demands.
- MSP based on the comprehensive cost of production should be made a legal entitlement of all farmers for all agricultural produce so that every farmer of the country can be guaranteed the MSP announced by the government for their entire crop.
- Withdraw the draft ‘Electricity Amendments Bill, 2020/2021.
- Withdraw cases against farmers and build a memorial for the protesters who lost their lives during the agitation against the three farm reform laws.
- Remove penal provisions against farmers in the ‘Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021’.
- Provide compensation and rehabilitation support for the families of the over 700 farmers who died during the agitation; allot land at the Singhu Border to build a memorial for the deceased farmers.
- Sack and arrest Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, whose son is accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri
“The farm reforms being talked about by the government are false and cosmetic. These will not end the plight of the farmers. The biggest reform for farmers and agriculture will be to make a law guaranteeing minimum support price,” said Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesman Rakesh Tikait.
“The panchayat is being held against the incident that took place in Lakhimpur Kheri. The amount has not been paid for the sugarcane, it is related to that as well. More than Rs 4,000 crore is due now. The farmers growing potatoes are upset, the crops are procured as per the MSP. The central government has decided to roll back three laws, the state government should write to the centre regarding other issues. We want the correct price for the crops, withdrawal of the cases that were registered. So, the panchayat has been scheduled for all of these,” Tikait said on 21 November.
Vice-president of the BKU’s Uttar Pradesh unit, Harnam Singh Verma, said: “The Prime Minister has announced the repeal of the three farm laws, but he did not say when the MSP law will be made. Until a law is made guaranteeing MSP and Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni is removed from his post, the agitation will continue.”
In Lakhimpur Kheri, four farmers were allegedly mowed down by an SUV on October 3. A journalist and two BJP workers were killed along with the four farmers. More than a dozen people, including the minister’s son Ashish Mishra, have so far been arrested in the case.
“The BJP had promised during the last UP Assembly Elections that once it forms government, sugarcane farmers will receive the payment within 14 days. But it has not been done. In the last four-and-a-half years, the sugarcane price has increased by only Rs 25,” Verma said.
In the meantime, Rashtriya Kisan Manch president Shekhar Dixit said that until the farmers’ demands are met, the agitation will continue. The Prime Minister made the announcement in view of the upcoming Assembly Elections, claimed Dixit.
Gurvinder Singh’s father, Sukhvinder Singh, said he would attend the Kisan Mahapanchayat today. Gurvinder Singh is one of the four farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.