October 11, 2020

Haryana: AIKS Struggles Register Successes

Inderjit Singh

AIKS UNITS actively took part in the Haryana bandh on September 20 and Bharat bandh on September 25, in which more than 5,000 kisans  were mobilised at various points across the state. Kisan sabha also actively joined the October 6 massive protest at Sirsa in front of the residence of deputy chief minister, Dushyant Chautala and a cabinet minister, Ranjit Chautala. This action was endorsed and supported by AIKSCC. The protest is going on for a demand that they quit the BJP government by opposing the farm bills. There was a  huge turnout of the farmers at Sirsa rally on October 6. Both uncle and nephew ministers duo will have to face a tough time now onwards with the fast mounting anger among their own supporters over their naked political opportunism.

Kisan Sabha in Bhiwani has taken a unique initiative in calling a mahapanchayat on October 7 at Bahal , a town falling under the assembly constituency of state agricultural minister, J P Dalal, who has been too vocal in supporting the three bills. He was sent a special invitation to join the mahapanchayat and convince the farmers. He obviously evaded the mahapanchayat, although representatives of all opposition parties including Congress, INLD, CPI(M), former MLAs, elected panchayati raj representatives took part, apart from leaders of mass fronts and kisan sabha leaders including Sumit Kumar, Master Sher Singh, Balbir Thaken , Daya Nand Punia, Om Prakash, Preet Singh and others. Congress legislature party leader in Haryana assembly, Kiran Cahudhary and a former CPS, Ran Singh Maan sent their written support to the agitation against the draconian laws. CPI(M) state secretary, Surender Singh highlighted before the mahapanchayat how the laws enacted recently in a fraudulent manner will ruin the agriculture and food security of the country. He threw a challenge to the BJP and JJP ruling alliance leaders to have a public debate and not to hide themselves from the people with whose votes they had got elected.

Haryana state committee of AIKS has been independently fighting on variety of burning issues like problem of purchasing of crops, damage to Kharif crops especially cotton , dewatering of the flooded fields, disbursement of sugarcane pending dues or the compensation for the last years damage of crops, issuance of power connection to all waiting applicants for tube wells etc., in various districts .

With equal emphasis the state unit had been striving to have united actions with state level constituents of the AIKSCC and other local farmers outfits of all hues on the issue of fighting and resisting the three bills fatal for farmers and agriculture sector as a whole. The details regarding massive damage to the cotton crop appeared in the columns of Peoples Democracy few weeks ago as a result of weather conditions and the whitefly infestation. AIKS district committees, especially those which have large cotton growing regions, submitted memorandum to the government demanding special girdawari (a survey done by the revenue department for assessment of the losses), which fell on deaf ears. Eventually AIKS had to launch dharnas, gheraos and other protest actions including getting an independent survey by retired university scientists. Krishna Prasad and Vijoo Krishnan from the all India centre also visited the affected areas, talked to the farmers in distress and addressed the dharnas. On September 17th, a massive protest was organised by AIKS in front of the camp office of the deputy CM and revenue minister, Dushyant Chautala at Uchana, which is also the assembly constituency he represents. Later a team of three Rajya Sabha MPs of CPI(M), namely E Kareem, K K Ragesh and  Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya visited Haryana and saw for themselves the disease scorched cotton fields .

Ultimately, Haryana government had to bow under the pressure and ordered a special girdawari for Sirsa, Fatehabad, Hisar and Bhiwani districts. Even this order was incomplete in certain respects. It did not mention crops damaged other than cotton, the cause of damage other than the pest and also excluded some more affected areas of Rohtak, Jind etc. AIKS did not withdraw the agitation till supplementary orders were issued.

It is in this background that the kisan sabha state committee met at Hisar on October 3 to review the activities and take stock of the new situation. The state committee also discussed how to make the October 14 as ‘MSP rights day’ successful, besides the Delhi Chalo on  November 2 and 27 by making close coordination with the Khet Mazdoor Union and trade unions who have also become part of the these all India actions. In spite of heavy work season of paddy harvest, cotton picking and sowing etc., on the one hand and the unabated Covid- 19 on the other, the momentum of the agitation is unrelenting.