Thousands of peasants protested in over 150 districts across the country on 9th August at the call of the Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan a coalition of organisations working for land rights for the peasantry, agricultural workers, forest dwellers, dalits and adivasis. The Andolan had extended support to the yatra organized by by the All India Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) to carry the soil from the villages of the farmers killed in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh to various parts of the country, concluding in Delhi on 18th July.
AIKCC had given a call for country-wide action in support of the two principal demands of the peasantry – that all their debts should be waived and they should be paid remunerative prices of 50 per cent above cost of production for all crops in accordance with the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations. Across the country, peasants organized to hold rallies/sit-in/jail bharo on their main demands. The organisers toured villages in all the districts appealing to peasants to join the protests on 9th August.
In Rajasthan, the protest was held across 15 districts. In Haryana, there was a protest at Rohtak commissioner’s office. In Himachal Pradesh, there was a central protest in Shimla in which thousands of peasants participated. Protests were organized in several districts of West Bengal, Tripura, Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. At Rewa, farmers protested with more than 400 cattle with them; thousands of peasants took to the streets in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. The southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Karnataka too witnessed protests in more than a dozen districts in each state.
All over the country the demand has been growing that the state fixes remunerative procurement prices for all produce, including vegetables and milk and that the state must actually ensure their procurement at these prices. The ruination of the peasantry due to volatile prices of their output was exacerbated by unseasonal rain and severe drought over the past three years. The struggle of the peasants in Madhya Pradesh which was brutally suppressed in Mandsaur on 6th June galvanized the protests of peasants in several states across the country. Meanwhile, peasants from Tamilnadu too had staged powerful struggles over similar demands, both in their own state and in Delhi.
With thousands of peasants mobilised to action, the central and various state governments had made all kinds of promises to assist them. But these have remained empty promises, driving the peasants to carry on their protests.
Following the protests on 9th August, the AIKSCC met in Delhi on 11th August to chalk out the campaign plan for the immediate future. It issued a call for broad unity on the demands of the peasants and has called on all organisations concerned with the issue to join the campaign. The AIKSCC aims to bring peasants from all over the country to Delhi for a massive protest to coincide with the start of the Parliament's Winter Session.
It is planned that the protest marches will be held in three phases. It will be flagged off on 31st August and pass through Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. On 16th September, the second phase of protests will starts from southern parts of the country. Later, rallies will be held in eastern and north-eastern states from 10th October to 10th November. The plan also includes a peasants’ rally in Champaran in Bihar on 2nd October. As a culmination of all these protests, peasants from all over the country will be called to Delhi for a mega protest, likely on 20th November.
Two resolutions — one to condemn the Madhya Pradesh government for "using undemocratic ways to suppress the protest by those living in Narmada Valley" and another to support the demands of Tamil Nadu peasants – were passed in the planning meeting held on 11th August in Delhi.