Muzaffarnagar’s GIC ground in Uttar Pradesh is practically overflowing with protesting farmers, eager to attend the Kisan Mahapanchayat on September 5, 2021. Lakhs of farmers from at least 15 states have mobilised its farmer delegates to attend the historic meeting.
The Sunday event will also serve as the formal launch of farmers organisation Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) Mission Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand. The goal is to amplify the farmers’ movement all over these states and demand the repeal of the three contentious farm laws, withdrawal of Electricity Amendment Bill 2020, and assert a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) at one and a half times the comprehensive cost for all agricultural products.
“The world will witness the largest ever gathering of farmers at the GIC Ground at Muzaffarnagar. The mahapanchayat will make the Yogi-Modi governments realize the power of farmers, farm labourers, and supporters of the movement,” said the SKM in a press release.
True to this promise, live coverage of the event showed a sea of peasants at the place as early as 11 AM on Sunday. As many as 500 langar services have been prepared for arranging meals for farmers, including mobile langars run by hundreds of tractor-trolleys. Similarly, around 100 medical camps have been set up to provide medical attention to participants.
मुज़फ़्फ़रनगर में किसानों की महापंचायत में आये किसानों के लिए खाने पीने की चीज़ों के साथ मुस्लिम बुज़ुर्ग।
— Neha Bharti (@IAmNehaBharti) September 5, 2021
By September 4, farmers from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Punjab, Assam and Andhra Pradesh had already reached the venue. The SKM also appealed to Muzaffarnagar citizens and adjoining districts to participate in the mahapanchayat.
However, this journey to the Uttar Pradesh location was not smooth-sailing for some groups. Bharatiya Kisan Union – Badaun (BKU-Badaun) reported how the district administration prevented the group’s entry into Muzaffarnagar. Authorities allegedly harassed bus owners as well, said District Secretary Advocate Chaudhary Dushyant Singh. District President Ramchandra Yadav was put under house arrest by the police with two police personnel posted at his house for his detention.
They eventually reached in time for the event.
Further, the SKM condemned the Delhi police’s imposition of Section 144 on Assam farmers who travelled all the way to the central region specifically to attend the mahapanchayat.
“The BJP government has betrayed farmers by passing the three farm laws and four labour codes. Women, Dalit and other marginalised groups are also suffering under this regime. Till now 600 martyrs have died in this struggle of which two were killed by the regime. But the government does not the time to address peasant’s issues,” said All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah.
He condemned the false promises of withdrawing the Electricity Bill and AQM laws. He stressed the need to show farmers’ ire during assembly elections.
Similarly, SKM leader Rakesh Tikait said, “It’s better if farmers do not expect anything from this government. Farmers have protested at the national capital borders for nine months. But the central government has not even sent a condolence message about martyred farmers till date. There is no hope that this government will take some steps. And so, this freedom fight has started.”
SKM leader Darshan Pal also reminded farmers that the Bharat Bandh was rescheduled to September 27 to mark the first anniversary of the nationwide farmers’ struggle. The Sunday event is claimed to be the biggest ever in the last nine months.
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