|Farmers in Rampur UP burn effigy of MP chief minister|
Madhya Pradesh, India: About a thousand rail bound BKU activists from Uttar Pradesh (UP) along with leader Rakesh Tikait on their way to Madhya Pradesh (MP) were lathi charged and arrested en-route and thrown in Jail on the 30 May by the MP government. They were going in solidarity with an anti land grabbing struggle against a Moserbaer power plant. Moserbaer is developing an unsustainable coal based Thermal Power project in the district Anuppur of Madhya Pradesh. BKU farmers were arrested at various railway stations and have been put in jails in many places like Annupur, Umriya, Byohari,Katni etc. About 98 women were put back into the trains and sent back to UP.
|Farmers occupy BJP office in Muzzafarnagar UP|
A farmers panchayat had been called at Anuppur to address the violent land grabbing of farmers and adivasi lands at throwaway prices and the criminalization of the protests. Many of the lands grabbed are owned by adivasi’s – up to 36% of the population of Annupur district is tribal and requires forest clearances. While many have not even been compensated, the rate that is being offered is as low as 16 Rs per meter which is even cheaper than cloth said angered farmers. Fake criminal charges have been slapped on many farmers and the police has been using strong violence to quell protests. Farmers have demanded that criminal charges be removed, farmers be released and that no lands be acquired until the pending Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act is finalized. Most importantly, they demand that governments need to stop criminalization of protesters and instead invite them for dialogues during land struggles. BKU with other farmers movements have supported the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee that no lands
|Chandauli UP farmers protest at BJP office|
be acquired for private players, that all agricultural lands (weather single or multi cropped) be banned from acquisition for the nations food sovereignty as well as that land givers need to give their consent – not merely be ‘consulted’ which can easily be forged in practice.
BKU has mobilized against the Bhartiya Janta Party across UP to demand the release of Rakesh Tikait and other hundreds of arrested farmers. The ruling BJP party government in MP state has been challenged by the farmers as being hypocritical as it has been organizing various pro farmer activities as part of its political campaign but on the ground has stolen farmers lands and used violence against them. Various actions have been carried out in the districts of Bijnaur, Chandoli, Fatehpura, Gajrola, Meerat, Noida, Saharanpur, Rampur etc and puppets of the chief minister Shivraj Singh have also been burned. BKU has threateend a “jail bharao” if the farmers are not released and the criminal charges on them are not removed.
|Noida farmers protest at BJP headquarters|
Finally, as the struggles around land grabbing intensify in India, peoples movements both nationally and internationally have been questioning the recent global trends and rationale behind land grabbing for the interests of a few over the real developmental needs of the many. They have questioned the obsession with land grabbing for industrialization that is geared towards elite consumption and not for feeding, clothing, housing, education, and the medical and livelihood needs of the masses. Finally they have questioned the domination of the urban vision over rural agrarian life. A development model that can keep people in the countryside, provide them sustainable dignified livelihoods, allow them to produce food and feed the nation is the key path to addressing the multiple environmental and hunger crisis that envelopes the world today.