September 11, 2022

SKM National Meet Calls for Intensifying Struggles

Ashok Dhawale

THE national meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) was held in New Delhi on September 4, 2022. The earlier meeting was held two months ago at Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, on July 3. The meeting was presided over by Tajinder Singh Virk, Rakesh Tikait and Ruldu Singh. It was conducted by Hannan Mollah, Darshan Pal and Joginder Singh Ugrahan.

Over 250 leaders of farmers’ organisations across India attended this meeting. The AIKS was represented by Hannan Mollah, Ashok Dhawale, Vijoo Krishnan, P Krishnaprasad (centre), Inderjit Singh, Sumit Dalal (Haryana), Chhagan Lal Choudhary (Rajasthan), Roop Basant Bharaich and Satnam Bharaich (Punjab).  

A brief report of the mass actions held as per the decisions of the last meeting was placed. On July 31, lakhs of farmers took part in four-hour long road blockades in hundreds of places across the country demanding legal guarantee to MSP, withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022, and other issues. From August 7-14, several joint conventions of farmers, youth and ex-servicemen were held to condemn the Agnipath scheme. From August 18-21, a massive 75-hour long dharna of thousands of farmers was held at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh to demand the dismissal and arrest of union minister of state for home affairs Ajay Mishra Teni, and the release of the farmers who have been arrested.

The SKM in this meeting unanimously adopted a new charter of demands for future struggles. Along with the original demands of legal guarantee to MSP at C2 + 50 per cent, and withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill, three more key demands were added to the SKM charter. These are: one time loan waiver by the central government to peasants and agricultural workers, a comprehensive crop insurance scheme that will help farmers and not corporates, and old age pensions to farmers and agricultural workers. The other demands like removal of Ajay Mishra Teni from the ministry and his arrest on murder charges, withdrawal of all false cases against farmers, and help to martyrs’ families, will of course continue. 

The SKM decided on a four-stage action programme, as follows: 1. Tehsil and block level campaign of demands from September 15-25 all over the county. 2. District level SKM drive to meet Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs of each district at the end of September and submit to them our charter of demands for raising in parliament. 3. The first anniversary of martyrdom at Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 will be observed as black day all over the country and effigies of the central government will be burnt. 4. On November 26, which marks the second anniversary of the beginning of the historic Delhi farmers’ struggle, massive rallies will be organised on the Raj Bhawans in each state by the SKM and the charter of demands will be submitted to the governors. 

A decision was taken to expand and form a new coordination committee of the SKM. To prepare the guidelines for the SKM an 11-member draft committee was formed. Ashok Dhawale will represent the AIKS in this committee. It will give its suggestions to the next SKM national meeting. On the basis of these guidelines, and also on the basis of the recommendations of state level SKMs, the SKM coordination committee will be expanded.

The SKM meeting condemned the campaign of lies being spread by a few organisations who call themselves SKM (apolitical). These splinter groups have left the SKM and are not a part of it. One SKM coordination committee member Yogendra Yadav requested SKM to release him from SKM responsibility as he desires to take up other work. SKM accepted his request.