THE Notification of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 brought by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government is a direct attack on livelihoods of millions of poor peasants engaged in dairy farming, people who are engaged in leather industry and earn their livelihood from sale of meat. It is a well-planned attack on the poor to ensure that the corporate entities engaged in dairy, leather and meat industry have unbridled access to the market and profits.
THE BJP had come to power three years ago promising “Achhe Din” for the farmers and agricultural workers as well as toiling masses. It had promised an end to farmers’ suicides, ensure remunerative prices for crops according to the Swaminathan Commission recommendation of at least 50 percent above cost of production, more investment in agriculture, expanded employment opportunities and higher wages under MGNREGA, irrigation facilities to all farms, effective insurance, pensions, scientific land acquisition legislation to protect interests of the peasantry and much more.
THE All India Kisan Sabha, in a statement issued on May 10, has condemned the extreme insensitivity of the BJP-led central government, the TDP-led Andhra Pradesh government and TRS government in Telangana towards the plight of the chilli farmers in the two states. It is notable that the farmers had expanded cultivation of chilli on the advice of the Andhra Pradesh state government to not go in for cotton cultivation citing pests and climatic problems. Despite the drought situation, farmers invested in a big way leading to bumper production of the crop.
THE April 1 lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan by cow vigilantes belonging to the VHP and the Bajrang Dal in Alwar in Rajasthan has brought to the national attention the agrarian aspects of the debate surrounding ban on cow slaughter. The moral and law and order aspects of the unbridled series of criminal onslaught on innocent persons belonging to the Muslim community by the Sangh Parivar, with the backing of the BJP-led governments, are of grave importance that in the long run could devastate the unity and integrity of the people and the country.
The leaders of All India Kisan Sabha visited Jaisinghpur of Nuh district of Haryana on April 7, to console the bereaved family members of Pehlu Khan, the dairy farmer who was killed by Sangh Parivar organisations. AIKS leaders comprising Hannan Mollah, general secretary, P Krishnaprasad, finance secretary, Master Sher Singh, president of Haryana Kisan Sabha and Manoj Kumar visited the family of the victims. Satvir Singh, state president of CITU, Major S L Prajapathy, Gurgaon District secretary of CPI(M) were also part of the delegation.
THE newly formed West Bengal state committee of the AIAWU met in Kolkata on March 23, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh. The meeting was presided over by Tushar Ghosh, state president of the union. The report was placed by Amiya Patro, state secretary. 19 representatives of the different districts of the state reported on their struggles and membership.
THIS article is an attempt mainly to assess the direction of the Union Budget for 2017-18, whether it will help the peasantry to come out of the present systemic crisis and end rising peasant suicides. This is important especially in the context of substantial increase in the rate of peasant suicides in the over two years of the NDA government.
The All India Kisan Sabha general secretary, Hannan Mollah, has written an open letter to the SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya on March 23 against the comments she made on writing off loans of the peasantry. Below we publish the text of the letter.
POTATO growers in West Bengal are enraged, with strings of protests and blockades sweeping through the state. The crisis of the peasants has accentuated as the prices of potato have come down to an all-time low, both in wholesale and retail market. Distress sale has become the order of the day. And, though it is continuing for months, no intervention has been evident from the state government.