Heroic Indian farmers and farm workers fresh from their victory over Modi’s three hated farm laws, are once again mobilising. Central Trade Union together with Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the coalition of protesting farmers unions, have called a General Strike across India on 23-24 February. We must do all we can to support this historic struggle which has wide implications for agriculture and all workers’ rights, urban and rural, all over the planet.
They are demanding a legally guaranteed Minimum Support Price for farmers and an end to repressive corporate Labour Codes and privatisation. Other demands include: compensation for families of the over 700 people who died in the struggle, the release of thousands of farmers, farm workers and other activists who were arrested and are still in prison. Please see below SKM’s 15 January press bulletin and an article in The Times of India.
Critical state elections are taking place starting in February in Uttar Pradesh (243 million inhabitants, 1/6 of India’s population) and in the Punjab where the farmers’ protests began. SKM is calling on people to vote against Modi’s BJP.
We hope to organise, with others, urban and rural support for the general strike of 23-24 Feb, in London and throughout the UK. If you are planning an action or want help in planning one, please let us know so we can be useful to you including publicising your event and send news of your actions and messages of support to SKM firstname.lastname@example.org.
No vote to BJP: Samyukta Kisan Morcha set to restart stir from Lakhimpur
TNN | Jan 15, 2022, 11.18 PM IST
NEW DELHI: A month after suspending its agitation and leaving permanent protest sites along the Delhi border, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) – joint platform of farmer unions that protested against three central farm laws – on Saturday decided to relaunch its protest from Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh on January 21 and take it forward in poll-bound states as ‘Mission Uttar Pradesh and ‘Mission Uttarakhand’ with a call for a vote against BJP beginning February 1.
The focus of the farmers’ renewed protest will be on demanding fulfilment of their pending issues including withdrawal of cases against farmers, compensation to kin of those who died during protests and action against junior home minister Ajay Mishra in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident which saw the killing of eight persons including four farmers and a journalist in October last year.
The SKM will put up a permanent ‘morcha’ (protest site) in Lakhimpur Kheri to take forward its goal of ‘Mission UP’ which will follow the models adopted by it in West Bengal where they appealed to voters “not to vote BJP” (call for vote ki chot) without saying whom to vote last year.
The farmers’ protest 2.0 will take its first major step on the ground on January 31 by observing ‘Day of Betrayal’ in the form of demonstrations at district and block levels across the country. These decisions were taken in a meeting of SKM at Singhu Border on Saturday. The meeting was called to review the progress on the government’s promises to farmer unions that led to the end of the year-long protest on December 10 last year.
“The Centre has, so far, neither formed a committee on minimum support price (MSP) issue nor approached us on it. No action has been taken by the central as well as state governments in Madhya Pradesh, UP, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh on the promise of immediate withdrawal of the cases against farmers. The government hasn’t removed Ajay Mishra from the Union cabinet despite the conspiracy being acknowledged in the SIT report,” said Yudhvir Singh of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Tikait).
He said, “The government has betrayed the farmers and that’s why we’ll observe ‘Day of Betrayal’ on January 31 across the country.” The SKM will decide the template of protests in the next few days after visits of farmer leaders, led by BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, to Lakhimpur Kheri and other parts of UP as a preparation for the ‘Mission UP’.
“We will visit Lakhimpur Kheri for 3-4 days from January 21 and meet the affected farmers’ families. We will discuss and form a strategy on the further course of action of our agitation,” said Rakesh Tikait.
The SKM’s meeting on Saturday was not attended by leaders of those unions which decided to contest Assembly elections in Punjab by forming Sanyukt Samaj Morcha. “Those unions are no longer part of the SKM. Any farmer organization or leader associated with our Morcha, contesting elections or playing a key role for any party in the election, will not remain in the SKM. If needed, this decision will be reviewed in the month of April after these Assembly elections,” said Joginder Singh Ugrahan, leader of BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan).
The Morcha in its meeting also decided to endorse and support the two-day nationwide strike announced by trade unions on February 23-24. The central trade unions of the country have called for a nationwide strike on issues like demanding withdrawal of four labour codes and MSP guarantee to farmers. The trade unions are also against the privatization of public sector undertakings/banks.
On the issue of withdrawal of cases and compensation to kin of farmers who died during agitation, the farmer leaders said that though the Haryana government has done some paperwork, the other state governments and Indian railways have not done anything on what the Centre had promised us.
“The UP government has not initiated any action on giving compensation to the martyred farmers’ families. No announcement has been made by the Haryana government regarding the amount and nature of compensation. On the issue of MSP, the government has neither announced the formation of the committee nor has given any information about the nature of the committee and its mandate,” said the SKM in a statement.
*Samyukta Kisan Morcha Press Bulletin*
15 January 2022
*Samyukta Kisan Morcha calls for observing a nationwide “Day of Betrayal” on 31 January against the government’s reneging on its assurances to the farmers*
*Samyukta Kisan Morcha will put up a permanent morcha against the brazen and insensitivity of the BJP in the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre case; Mission Uttar Pradesh will continue*
*Samyukta Kisan Morcha will endorse and support the nationwide strike announced by trade unions on 23 and 24 February*
*The name of Samyukta Kisan Morcha will not be used in the election; farmers’ organizations and leaders participating in the elections are not with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha*
In the Samyukta Kisan Morcha meet held at Singhu border in Delhi today, many important decisions were taken regarding the programs and future direction of the SKM. SKM expressed its dismay and anger that the Government of India has not fulfilled any of the promises of the letter dated 9th December on the basis of which we decided to withdraw the morchas. No action has been taken by the Union Government, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Government on the promise of immediate withdrawal of the case during the agitation. The Haryana government has done some paperwork only. The rest of the state governments have not even received a letter from the Union Government. The Uttar Pradesh government has not initiated any action on giving compensation to the martyred farmers’ families. No announcement has been made by the Haryana government regarding the amount and nature of compensation. On the issue of MSP, the government has neither announced the formation of the committee, nor has given any information about the nature of the committee and its mandate.
To protest against this betrayal of the farmers, the SKM has decided that on 31st January, Day of Betrayal will be observed across the country and large protest demonstrations will be organized at the district and block levels.
It is clear from the brazen attitude of the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre that it does not care about the dignity of public life. Despite the conspiracy been acknowledged in the SIT report, Ajay Mishra Teni, the main conspirator of this incident, remaining in the Union Cabinet is adding salt to the wounds of the farmers. On the other hand, the Uttar Pradesh Police is over active in implicating and arresting the farmers named in this incident. To oppose this, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha will announce a permanent morcha in Lakhimpur Kheri. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has made it clear that “Mission Uttar Pradesh” will continue, through which this anti-farmer politics will be taught a lesson.
On 23 and 24 February, the central trade unions of the country have called for a nationwide strike on issues like withdrawal of the four anti-labour codes, as well on issues of MSP to farmers and against privatization. SKM will endorse and support this call in the form of a rural strike.
Regarding the announcement of some constituent organizations to field candidates by forming parties in Punjab elections, SKM clarified that from the very beginning, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha has made it a limitation that no political party can use its name, banner or platform. The same rule applies in elections as well. The name or banner or platform of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha shall not be used by any party or candidate in the election. Any farmer organization or leader associated with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, contesting elections, or who plays a key role for any party in the election, will not remain in the Samyukta Kisan Morcha. If needed, this decision will be reviewed in the month of April after these assembly elections.
Dr. Darshan Pal, Hannan Molla, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Shivkumar Sharma (Kakka ji), Yudhveer Singh, Yogendra Yadav
*Samyukta Kisan Morcha*