Kisan Mukti March in Delhi for law on MSP and debt relief

Kisan Mukti March in Delhi for law on MSP and debt relief

Thousands of farmers, who have arrived at the National Capital chanting “Dilli chalo”, on Friday took out a Kisan Mukti March, demanding that the government bring in legislation for a guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) for their produce and freedom from debts. They have reached the Parliament Street, where several leaders are expected to address the rally.

The march has been organised under the banner of the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a platform of 200 farmers’ groups. Farmers from different parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are taking part in the rally.

Thousands of farmers from across the country have arrived at the National Capital demanding a special session of Parliament to discuss agrarian crisis.

Here are the latest updates:

Leaders from Opposition parties are beginning to arrive at Jantar Mantar, the protest venue. Left leaders Sitaram Yechury, D. Raja, Sudhakar Reddy, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party’s Dharmendra Yadav, and Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamool Congress have arrived.

Members from Nandurbar Maharashtra Pawara and Bhil community at the farmers rally.

Members from Nandurbar Maharashtra Pawara and Bhil community at the farmers rally.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

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Many women have turned up for the protest. They say their sufferings are worse than their male counterparts. Rita Messi (45) travelled around 200 km from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh to the national capital with a hope of sustaining her livelihood as a farmer and making her demand heard at the Kisan rally.

Rita, who supports 11 family members as a sugarcane farmer, has struggled over the years due to crop failure and her inability to pay off the debts. “I took big risks by taking loans from banks with the hope of doing well. But a drought like situation in the first year, flood in second year and lately, storms have destroyed all my hopes. Now I am unable to repay my loans,” she tells PTI.

‘Largest congregation’

The national secretary of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), Asish Mittal, says farmers from 24 States have also joined the protest. The AIKSCC has claimed that the two-day rally is one of the largest congregations of farmers in Delhi.

The AIKSCC was formed under the aegis of All India Kisan Sabha and other Left-affiliated farmers’ bodies in June 2017, following protests by farmers in states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for debt relief and remunerative prices.

Women from the Telugu-speaking states have arrived at the march with photos of their kin who lost their lives in farm distress.

Women from the Telugu-speaking states have arrived at the march with photos of their kin who lost their lives in farm distress.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

These women have come from Telangana carrying photos of their kin who lost their lives due to debt. The farmers are Jantar Mantar.

Farmers rally passes by Connaught Place in New Delhi on Friday.

Farmers rally passes by Connaught Place in New Delhi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

 As farmers reach Parliament Street, sounds and chants grow louder. Members of Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra stage a performance at the venue.

  
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‘Kisan Night’

The farmers began their march from Ramlila Maidan. Farmers from various parts of the country converged at Delhi’s iconic ground yesterday.

As Ramlila Maidan became the halt for the night for thousands of farmers, echoes of demands for their “haq” resonated in the crisp Delhi winter air.

At the ‘Kisan Night’ organised to lift the spirits of the farmers, one of the performers sang, “Ab haq ke bina bhi kya jeena, yeh jeene ke samaan nahi (Life has no meaning without rights).” The farmers leading the march have reached Parliament Street. As they pass through the Sansad Marg Police Station, the number of farmers continue to swell. As per the organisers, over one lakh farmers are taking part in the rally.

Farmers rally crossing Ranjit Singh Flyover as they march towards Parliament Street on Friday.

Farmers rally crossing Ranjit Singh Flyover as they march towards Parliament Street on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, who are taking part in the Kisan Mukti March, are crossing Delhi’s commercial district at Connaught Place.

Tamil Nadu farmers march with skulls

Farmers bearing skulls of relatives who have committed suicide due to farm distress take part in the rally on Friday.

Farmers bearing skulls of relatives who have committed suicide due to farm distress take part in the rally on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Priscilla Jebaraj

Farmers from Tamil Nadu have joined the march. They are marching with the skulls of their relatives who took their lives due to farm distress and debt. As many as 350 farmers have come to the National Capital to participate in the rally.

The farmer in the picture says his relatives died in 2010. He says he has visited Delhi eight times since then seeking government’s help. “I will vote for whichever party is willing to help farmers, give fair prices and loan waivers,” he says.

Delhiites lend support

Five Gurdwaras in the Delhi region have extended their help to the farmers. Also students from various universities turned out in large numbers to lend support to the farmers. The protest also saw participation of a number of women farmers who travelled from various parts of the country.

Volunteers, including doctors, lawyers, professors and artists, all came out in large numbers to help the farmers. Around 600-700 volunteers of a solidarity group Nation For Farmers marched with the protesters from the four assembly points.

Security beefed up

Over 3500 police personnel are pressed in providing security.

Over 3500 police personnel are pressed in providing security.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Over 3,500 police personnel have deployed along the proposed farmers’ rally route. According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts.As many as 850 police personnel, up to the rank of sub-inspectors, have been deployed in the Central district. They will be augmented by the presence of 12 police companies, including two of women, comprising 75-80 personnel each, a police official said.

Traffic advisory

Traffic piled up in Vikas Marg which connects East side to New Delhi following traffic restrictions as farmers march to Parliament Street.

Traffic piled up in Vikas Marg which connects East side to New Delhi following traffic restrictions as farmers march to Parliament Street.   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

The Delhi Traffic Police has issued a traffic advisory.  The farmers will march to Jantar Mantar via Guru Nanak Chowk – Ranjit Singh flyover – Tolstoy Marg.  Over 3,500 police personnel have been deployed along the rally route.The Delhi Police has said traffice is likely to be affected on roads surrounding Ramlil Ground, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, Deshbandhu Gupta Road, Rani Jhansi Marg, Mandir Marg, Panchkuian Road, Barakhamba Road, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Janpath, Ashoka Road, Ferozhah Road, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Jai Singh Marg.

  – The Hindu, NOVEMBER 30, 2018