Massive Farmers March in Patna
Arun Kumar Mishra
THE massive turn-out of farmers, poor peasants and agricultural workers on February 18, under the banner of joint Kisan Sangharsh Samiti gave a befitting reply to the hate mongers who are utilising the tragic incident in Pulwama (Kashmir) to polarise the masses on communal lines by using abusive languages against the minority community and even attacking the Kashmiri small traders in Patna.
Eleven kisan organisations had given a joint call to stage a state level march during the budget session of Bihar assembly to raise the various issues concerning the farmers and agricultural labourers and the landless and homeless people of Bihar.
The main demands included – complete debt waiver, purchase of agricultural produce by the government agencies, remunerative prices for the agricultural products as recommended by Swaminathan Commission, permanent solution from the ravages of flood and drought, opening of all the closed sugar mills, Rs 10 per litre incentive for milk producers, stop eviction of the poor people without alternative arrangement, distribution of legal documents among the people who are living on government, ceiling and Bhoodan lands for the last 50-60 years, central legislation for agricultural workers union etc.
Month long preparation for the march culminated in mobilising thousands of peasants and agricultural workers who, with traditional weapons in their hands, started assembling in the sprawling Gandhi Maidan from the 17th night itself. The entire Gandhi Maidan area turned red. Some issue based farmers organisations also joined the march with their own flags and banners. Women peasants and agricultural workers participated in large numbers. The march started in the afternoon, led by the state leaders of the 11 constituents of the Joint Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and broke the cordon near J P roundabout and marched towards Dakbangla Chowk. The militant marchers confronted the massive contingent of police force and forced the police authorities to declare all the marchers arrested. The entire area stretching from Gandhi Maidan to Dakbangla Chowk was chocked with people waving flags and raising slogans against Modi and Nitish government.
The march turned into mass meeting which was presided over by Lalan Chowdhary, president (AIKS Jamal Road), Janki Paswan (AIKS, Janshakti) and Bisheshwar Yadav of Kisan Maha Sabha.
The meeting was addressed from the roof top of an open van. Addressing the meeting N K Shukla, joint secretary of AIKS paid tributes to the martyrs of Pulwama terror strike and said that the sons of the peasants are shedding their blood on borders while their fathers and brothers are feeding the entire nation shedding their sweat and facing the vagaries of climate change in the fields and farmlands of the country. The neoliberal regime has pushed the farming community to court death which has resulted in lakhs of suicides in the last two and half decades.
He called upon the farmers and agricultural workers of Bihar to throw out Modi and Nitish regime which has betrayed the common people in general and the farmers in particular.
Binod Kumar (AIKS, Jamal Road), Rajaram of Kisan Mahasabha, Ashok Singh of AIKS (Janashakti), Prabhuraj Narayan Rao, Bhola Diwakar, Devendra Chourasia president and general secretary of agricultural workers union also addressed the gathering.