On 2nd October, thousands of farmers, organized under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) arrived at the border of Delhi, at the culmination of the Kisan Kranti Yatra, which they had begun on 23rd September from Haridwar. The agitating farmers had announced their plan to march through the streets of Delhi to Kisan Ghat and hold a public meeting there to highlight their demands. They had also sought talks with the ministers of the central government, to press for their long-standing demands and to submit a memorandum of their demands to the authorities.
However, they were stopped at the UP-Delhi border and prevented from entering the capital. The police armed with water cannons, tear gas and lathis, barricaded their way. The police brutally attacked them with lathis and water cannon, and lobbed several tear gas shells to disperse the protesting farmers. Scores of farmers were grievously injured.
But the protesting farmers refused to be cowed down. When a central government delegation led by the Home Minister met the farmers’ leaders and ‘assured them’ that their demands would be considered, the BKU rejected the government’s assurances. The president of the BKU, Naresh Tikait categorically said: “But it is not enough. They have said that our demands will be considered. Farmers have been suffering for so many years and they are still only going to consider our demands. The protest is not going to end.”
The farmers continued to persist with their demand to be allowed to march to Kisan Ghat and to submit a memorandum of their demands to the central government authorities. They camped for the night at the UP-Delhi border and organized for cooking their meals with materials and provisions they had brought from their villages at the commencement of the march.
The unity and determination of the protesting farmers finally forced the authorities to allow them to continue with their scheduled program. A day after, on 3rd October, the Union Cabinet announced a rise in the minimum support prices for the upcoming rabi season 2018-19. It announced a rise in the minimum support price for wheat by Rs 105 per quintal, masur daal by Rs 225 per quintal, gram by Rs 220 per quintal, barley by Rs 30 per quintal, rapeseed and mustard by Rs 200 per quintal and safflower by Rs 845 per quintal.
Farmers all over the country are up in arms against the policies of the state which are leading, on the one hand to flourishing profits for the big monopoly corporations involved in the agri-trade business, and to utter ruination of the farmers on the other. The last 18 months alone have witnessed at least 4 massive agitations of lakhs of farmers from various parts of the country.
The farmers are demanding guaranteed procurement of their produce by the state at a minimum support price which would be at least 1.5 times the cost of production. They are demanding an unconditional one-time complete loan waiver. They are demanding compensation for crop losses through insurance. While the government has launched with much fanfare the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, there are reports of farmers in many states being deprived of their insurance compensation due to the complicity of the banks and insurance companies.
Among other things, the BKU is also demanding a cut in diesel prices which have increased over 30% in the last one year. With its core base in the sugarcane belt of western UP, the BKU is also demanding that pending sugarcane dues, which continue to be nearly Rs 10,000 crore, be paid without any delay.
The Communist Ghadar Party condemns the barbaric police attack on the agitating farmers. The demands of the farmers are entirely just and have the support of the vast majority of the working class and people.