Farmers from across the country gather in Delhi for Kisan Mukti March
NEW DELHI: Thousands of farmers from across the nation are headed for the Ramlila ground here to press for their demands for higher minimum support prices for their crops and farm-loan waiver, among others.
The farmers are marching in from Nizamuddin, Sabzi Mandi Station, Anand Vihar Terminal and Majnu Ka Tila. Two special trains carrying farmers, one from Maharashtra's Miraj and another from Bengaluru, are expected to reach Delhi later in the day.
The farmers will congregate at the Ramlila ground by 8 pm. Social activists, including Medha Patkar and noted journalist P Sainath, have extended their support to the rally and said the situation of farmers in the country has deteriorated to a level like never before.
Many women farmers and students from Delhi University are also part of the rally to push the Centre to providing relief to the distressed farmers. On Friday, under the umbrella body All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), they will march from Ramlila Maidan to the Parliament Street to protest against the "anti-farmer" policies of the BJP government.
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and Member of Parliament Raju Shetti, who is also a part of the AIKSCC, introduced two Private Member's Bills in the Lok Sabha in 2017, seeking a loan-waiver and a guaranteed remunerative prices for agricultural commodities based on the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
The AIKSCC, which represents over 200 farm outfits, has demanded the Bills be discussed and passed in Parliament. It said 21 political parties have extended their support to the Bills and their representatives may visit the protest march on Friday.
Several prominent writers, intellectuals and artists, including Nayantara Sahgal, K. Satchidanandan, Ganesh Devy and Damodar Mauzo, have expressed solidarity with the farmers.
"I am one with the farmers in all their demands. The Indian State has been ungrateful to the point of cruelty to the farmers who feed the people of our country. This cannot go on. The Indian peasants' plight defines the nation's condition and the State needs to do everything to solve their problems. Their genuine grievances ought to be addressed by a special session of the country's parliament and concrete solutions should be sought," said Satchidanandan, a noted Indian poet and critic, who writes in Malayalam and English.