SKM demands Centre come through on its promises

With hardly any FIRs withdrawn in Haryana, the SKM returns with pertinent questions about the delay in Centre’s own assurances; calls for protests on January 31

Samyukta Kisan Morcha

Farmers’ umbrella body Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has called for a nationwide protest on January 31, 2022 after expressing disappointment at the central government’s failure to come through on its own promises to protesters.

Around December 8, 2021, the Centre first initiated talks with farmer leaders negotiating many demands such as a legal guarantee to Minimum Support Price (MSP), withdrawal of the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021, penal provisions on farmers in the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act 2021 and FIRs registered against agitating farmers across India.

However, “Barring some FIRs in Haryana, there has been no progress regarding the assurances made in the documents,” said SKM member Ashok Dhawale during a press conference.

For this reason, the members declared tehsil-level protest all over the country on Monday. Further, if their demands remained ignored after the protests, farmers decided to launch “Mission Uttar Pradesh” and “Mission Uttarakhand” in the respective states to condemn the ruling regime.

Regarding politics, the SKM also clarified that it has distanced itself from all unions wishing to enter politics as the movement “is apolitical”. Leaders said they will decide whether the estrangement will continue four months from now.

Meanwhile, it voiced fresh support to the anganwadi workers in Haryana, who have been asserting their rights since December 8. The SKM also promised to participate in the All-India General Strike of trade union on February 23 and February 24 to condemn other oppressive laws of the government.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha

Since October 2021, farmers have also demanded the sacking of Union Minister Ajay Mishra for his alleged involvement in the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre. Leaders pointed out that even the SIT probe stated that the incident was a premeditated act and not a chance event. However, while Mishra remains in office many farmers have been arrested since then.

To look into this matter, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait along with a delegation of the SKM will go to Lakhimpur Kheri on January 21 for three days to talk to the arrested farmers and their families.

“We will meet the people in jails and their families. Many of our people have been imprisoned and we plan to talk to authorities about this. Even authorities who arrested farmers outside Uttar Pradesh will be questioned for the act,” said Tikait.

The SKM said that if the delegation finds their investigations unsatisfactory, they will announce fresh protests across the district.

Farmers demands

Aside from the withdrawal of the three contentious laws, the SKM has constantly demanded a legal guarantee to MSP. During their last talk with officials, farmers were told that the Centre will create a committee to discuss MSP legalisation. However, after nearly a month, farmers noted that the government has taken no efforts to follow through on their promises.

Similarly, many peasant families have been waiting for their compensation from the government after family members died while participating in the national struggle. Yet, many have not received any word from officials.

During the press conference, the farmer leaders called this protection of Minister Mishra and the stalling of the committee another way to protect their “vote bank”.


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