‘Kisan Sansad’ at Jantar Mantar, aims to create farmers’ parliament

Farmers threaten action against MPs not raising their demands in Parliament

Politics

July 22, 2021

/ By and / New Delhi

‘Kisan Sansad’ at Jantar Mantar, aims to create farmers’ parliament

Farmers' parliament or Kisan Sansad will be in full swing for the entire monsoon session of the Parliament, say farmers (MIG photos/Aman Kanojiya)

Farmers agitating against the farm laws of 2020 have increased the intensity and vigour of their protest as a representative group of about 200 farmers gathers at Jantar Mantar near Parliament in view of ongoing Monsoon Session to highlight their distress and demand of the farmers.

As the farmers’ protest against three farm laws rammed through the Parliament last year by the government without any debate enters its eighth month, the farmers have upped the ante on their by and large peaceful protest to pressure ruling party as well as opposition parliamentarians to raise their issues during the Monsoon Session that opened earlier this week.

The farmers, who have so far steadfastly remained at the borders of the national capital, except for a rally to the Red Fort on the Republic Day which turned violent, decided to mount the symbolic protest at Jantar Mantar near the Parliament. Rakesh Tikait, an influential farm leader from Uttar Pradesh declared at Jantar Mantar on Thursday that the farmers will organise their own parliamentary session and take decisions in the interest of farmers, who are makers of the nation as well as of the government that runs the nation.

“The dalits, women and farmers are why the government exists, who are the most marginalised and whose demands are the most overlooked by the society and the government. We, as a movement, have been protesting for 237 days, without relenting, to revoke the farm bills that hold no merit for the farmers but only the government’s interest with big private corporations. We have also made arrangements and fought for space to be given to the many media personnel gathered as the police with all its force prevented them from reaching to us,” says D Sunilam, founder president of All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, who is also a former MLA from Madhya Pradesh.

Heavy security of police personnel at Jantar Mantar during the Kisan Sansad (MIG photos/Aman Kanojiya)

In view of the demonstrations by the farmers at Jantar Mantar the Delhi Police had posted a large number of personnel across the borders in Delhi, in order to control the number of protesters as the police have allowed only 200 protestors to gather at Jantar Mantar. The farmers parliament or Kisan Sansad will be in full swing for the entire monsoon session of the parliament, say the farmers. Placards and banners could be seen all over the place with slogans against the agricultural laws of 2020.

In a press statement, Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella organisation of over 400 farmers’ bodies participating in the protest, said that in the Kisan Sansad, protesting farmers refuted the ‘‘hollow claims of ministers of the Government of India that farmers have not really explained what their concerns with the laws are, and are only harping about their repeal demand’’.

It added that the participants also raised several points with regard to the unconstitutional nature of the laws, the undemocratic processes by which the government brought them in, and the serious implications that the law will have on farm livelihoods. “They showcased before the world their intimate knowledge of this black law and why they are insistent on a full repeal and nothing less than that,” it said.

Langar or community kitchen services were organised by the farmers at Jantar Mantar during Kisan Sansad (MIG photos/Aman Kanojiya)

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that talks will take place with the protesting farmers if their demands are substantiated enough, and their problems are point-wise discussed in a humane way. He also insisted that the farm laws have been agreed upon after detailed discussions and analysis in the parliament and has been thus created keeping in mind the interests of the larger whole.

The security arrangements in the entire area of Jantar Mantar are next to overwhelming. The area surrounding the protesters has been heavily barricaded by the police to prevent any other persons from entering, and even the dozens of media personnel had to struggle to catch just a glimpse of the arrived protesters. All routes to Jantar Mantar have been closed, and additional security has been deployed around the Parliament.

For a brief while chaos erupted between the police and the media, as the media pushed itself forward to get closer to the farmers’ group. After the protesters and their leaders intervened, several media were allowed to interact with the farmers.

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said that the Sansad is first of its kind, that is for the farmer, by the farmer and of the farmer (MIG photos/Aman Kanojiya)

The farmers have once again reiterated their determination to continue the protest unless the government meets their demand, especially to repeal the farm laws. “The farmer has finally proved himself that he can keep his word, today marks this achievement of ours. If those who are there having debates in the Parliament cannot raise their voice for us, then we will, right here close to the Parliament. Those who are against us or for us, if they cannot speak for us, sitting in the parliament, then we will move the Parliament. This Sansad (Parliament), I believe, is first of its kind that is for the farmer, by the farmer and of the farmer, and even after facing such opposition from the government still stands tall. The three evil laws passed by the government need to be withdrawn at all cost,” Tikait said at the gathering.

He also said that those MPs who fail to raise questions on the farmers’ protest and their issues in the ongoing session will face boycott from farmers in their own constituencies. With elections in key states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab as well as Uttarakhand coming up in less than a year, the MPs are bound to feel the heat of the protest.

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