Chandigarh, June 9: On June 1, hundreds of farmers in the country started their 10-day-long nationwide protest to demand loan waiver and right price for crops among others from the government. After getting initial media coverage and political attention (both for and against the protest), the grave issues plaguing the farm sector in the country have been once again relegated to the background.
However, the protesting farmers continued with their agitation. On Friday, several farmers in Uttar Pradesh threw tomatoes on roads as they were getting just Rs 1 per kilogram of their tomato produce.
In the initial days of the agitation too farmers across Punjab, Maharashtra and Rajasthan threw vegetables and milk on roads as a mark of protest. Members and supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed the farmers for throwing their produce on roads and wasting valuable food items.
The protesting farmers are also asking the government to do away with the middlemen who are allegedly the main culprits causing great "losses" to both the producers and consumers.
"By our protest, we have told the government what we wanted to. We wanted to tell the people that middlemen just don't affect the people, but they affect the producers too. I hope government listens to us and eliminate the middlemen," Harmeet Singh Kadyan, president, Bharat Kisan Union (Punjab), told ANI.
By our protest, we've told the govt what we wanted to. We wanted to tell the people that middlemen just don't affect the people, but they affect the producers too.I hope government listens to us & eliminate the middlemen:Harmeet Singh Kadyan, President, Bharat Kisan Union(Punjab) pic.twitter.com/WzgFWbwZ7I— ANI (@ANI) June 8, 2018
The farmers' agitation in seven states--Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh--has been spearheaded by the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM)--a conglomeration of 130 farmers' organisations across the country.
In spite of the ongoing protest, the ruling Narendra Modi government at the Centre seems to be in no mood to talk to the protesters and come to a settlement. The whole protest has taken a political colour, as the ruling BJP and the Congress accused each other of being responsible for the farm crisis in the country.
Earlier, Union minister of agriculture and farmers welfare Radha Mohan Singh stoked controversy by calling the farmers' protest "an exercise to get media attention". His comment has been dubbed as "insensitive" and opposition parties had demanded his removal.
Singh said the farmers opted for "unusual deeds" to draw media attention as they belong to organisations with only a few thousand members. The farmers too protested against Singh's remark.
On the first anniversary of killing of farmers in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh on June 6, Congress president Rahul Gandhi met the families of the deceased. The entire 10-day-long agitation was started to observe the first anniversary of killing of seven farmers in Mandsaur last year. The farmers died in police firing while they were taking part in a protest.
Since the last year, the Modi government is facing the ire of farmers because of what they called the "anti-farmer policies" of the current regime at the Centre. A few months ago, around 4,000 farmers walked 180 kms from Nashik to Mumbai to meet CM Devendra Fadnavis. They presented a list of demands to the CM. The CM has agreed to meet their demands.