There have been widespread protests in India and world-wide against the anti-peasant laws passed by the Central government. Following the Bharat Bandh on 25th September organised by over 250 peasant organisations and many trade unions and workers organisations against these laws, peasants in various states, notable Punjab and Haryana, have continued their protest actions. They have continued their blockade of roads and railway tracks. In Punjab, the peasant unions announced a gherao of corporate houses in the state. The call to ‘boycott corporate houses’ has spread wide, to the extent that people have also done away with Jio SIM cards. There have also been protests against and at Reliance shopping malls, Adani’s silo projects at Moga and Sangrur, the Guru Gobind Singh-HPCL Refinery, Walmart and Best Price stores, toll plazas and even Essar petrol pumps.
Another significant action has been the action taken by gram sabhas (village councils) to veto the laws. Almost all of the 13000 gram sabhas in Punjab plan to pass resolutions against the legislations. Several have already met and resolved on the veto while others are scheduled to meet. Once the resolution on the veto gets passed, it will get sent to the Prime Minister and President according to the procedures of the Panchayati Raj Act. The resolutions clearly reject these laws that are intended to withdraw support price for agricultural produce, facilitate hoarding by trading monopolies and are anti-peasant and anti-people.
Meanwhile, the government has been using its propaganda machine to cover up with one lie after another the intention behind these laws. At the same time, it has been trying to placate the angry peasants by inviting peasant unions for talks with the Centre on 14th October. However the delegation of peasants saw through this move as well when the Minister of Agriculture did not care to attend the meeting. The delegation walked out of the meeting and condemned the government for its refusal to seriously listen to concerns expressed by peasant organisations all over the country. The peasants issued a statement with their demand that “First, the government should be ready to review and if necessary, repeal the three laws. Second, the government should be ready to consider legislating the minimum support price as a legal right and deal with input cost, food security and other issues.”
Indians across the world have demonstrated in recent weeks in support of their peasant brothers. Protests were organised in Surrey and Southall (UK). In Calgary (Canada) home to thousands of Indians from Punjab, people came out to voice their support for the peasants in India. Progressive cultural organisations participated in the protest, reciting poems and singing songs. They raised slogans like ‘Kale Kanoon Murdabaad’ and ‘Kisan Ekta Zindabaad’.
Migrant Workers Association of New Zealand and Radio Inqilaab organised a rally outside the Indian consulate in Auckland to extend support to the peasants protesting against the three new laws. The demonstrators raised slogans against the government of India, and assured their support to the peasants in their struggle against the new laws. Among others they were carrying banners that read ‘We stand with peasants of India’, ‘revoke anti peasant laws.’