2,000 farmers protest in Delhi to press for demands
Around 2,000 farmers protested in Delhi on Tuesday to condemn the "anti-farmer" policies of the BJP government and killing of six farmers in Madhya Pradesh last month.
They also pressed for adequate remuneration for their produce and complete loan waiver.
The Kisan Mukti Yatra, flagged off on July 6 at Mandsaur in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Madhya Pradesh, reached Jantar Mantar around 12 p.m. on Tuesday. It was led by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and MP Raju Shetty and Swaraj Abhiyan founder Yogendra Yadav.
Shetty and Yadav reiterated their demands of loan waiver and remunerative prices saying the farmers were in huge distress.
"The government did not give Madhya Pradesh farmers a good price for their produce but instead fired bullets at them. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants farmers to just produce food grains. He thinks they are animals. Farmers will have to take revenge," Shetty said.
The protesting farmers were predominantly from Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
They demanded the Modi government fulfil its electoral promise of 50 per cent profit above the production cost and implementation of recommendations by the M.S. Swaminathan Committee.
Among the protesters were about 40 children of farmers from Maharashtra who committed suicide in recent years. They made an appeal to the protesting farmers not to commit suicide to avoid negative repercussions on their family.
Social activist Medha Patkar, civil activist Prashant Bhushan, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury and Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant were among others who sought farmers' unity to force the government to bring a legislation to ensure remunerative prices.
CPI-M's Yechury said he will raise issues of loan waiver and remunerative prices in the ongoing session of parliament.
"We will talk about the loan waiver in parliament. It is a right of farmers to get adequate price. The government will have to bring a law," Yechury said.
Sawant from the Shiv Sena said his party had always been in support of farmers and that it would raise their issues in Parliament.
Leaders from the Janata Dal-United and the Biju Janata Dal also joined the protesters.
Notably, the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, an umbrella body of 62 farmers' organisations, had stayed away from the yatra calling it "politically motivated".