Ironically, these attacks took place on Gandhi and Shastri’s anniversaries, both staunch defenders of farmers rights
Public Statement, 2nd October, 2018
We are representatives of many farmers organizations, civil society organizations, NGOs, and citizens and we are appalled at the violent treatment of farmers by the Indian government. 50,000 Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) farmers who were peacefully marching from Haridwar to Delhi as part of the Kisan Kranti Yatra were met with tear gas, water cannons, police batons. The Rapid Action Force was deployed. Many were gravely injured and there were no ambulances or medical supplies available. Others were cordoned off and had no access to food or water. Ironically, it also happens to be Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary, a man who taught the world the value of non-violent protest and insistence upon truth through satyagraha. It is also our late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s anniversary, who coined the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” in honour of our farmers and soldiers.
The farmers started their march on the 23rd September in Haridwar UP and were on their 7th day of walking and were hoping to enter New Delhi with their letter of demands. They merely wanted to bring attention to the abysmal state of farmers in India. They were blocked at the Delhi –UP border in Delhi by the police and RAF.
Their demands not new and are being echoed by every other farmer union of our country. They were asking for fair and remunerative prices, guaranteed incomes, freedom from debt, pension for rural people, payment of arrears, end to unnecessary imports, among other demands. In fact, the Modi government had manipulated farmers via lofty election promises related to the same demands before coming to power and now is greeting them with tear gas.
Even after so many years of independence, Modi government has shown that it is no different from the pre-independence British government in India. We will never let the government forget this and so many other acts of aggression towards India’s annadatas. We will come together and form a national force to defeat all governments that attack our farmers.
Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM)
Katch Sarpartra Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, Tamil Nadu
Adivasigal Gothra Maha Sabha
Jaya Mehta, Joshi-Adhikari Institute of Social Studies, Delhi
Dr. A.K. Arun
Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi
Zeeshan Akhtar (India.com, Lucknow)
Anand Swaroop Verma (Samkalin Teesari Duniya)
Debadityo Sinha (Vindhya Bachao Abhiyan)
Indu Prakash Singh (President, Forum Against Corruption & Threats and Facilitator, CityMakers Mission International)
Indra Raghuvanshi, Advocate, Secretary, Forum Against Corruption & Threats (FACT)
Human Rights Defenders Alert – India
Arjun Prasad Singh, Morcha Magazine
Aflatoon, General Secretary, Samajwadi Jan Parishad.
Navin Kumar, Journalist
Chandra Bhushan Choudhary, Samajwadi Jan Parishad