Thursday , 29 February 2024
Thursday , 29 February 2024

Farmers and subversive elements must be kept apart

  • 30 Nov, 2023

Rising Panjab Bureau

One of the gravest fallouts of the farmers' agitation against the three agriculture bills introduced by the Modi government and withdrawn later has been that it not just revived but made the farmers' scattered and fringe organisations in Punjab so incrementally contextual. As many as 27 farmers' unions had joined hands to lead the protest at the gate of the Delhi border. Not just that it also saw radical Sikhs, mainly from overseas, lending their support to the agitating farmers.  It transformed the entire idiom of farmers' grievances in Punjab as the baton passed on to the leftist unions of farmers which had led the Naxal movement in Punjab in late sixties.

According to the official information, since 2021 when the Centre withdrew the three controversial agriculture bills, there has been farmers' agitation at more than 30 places in Punjab. Farmers have been blocking roads and railway lines at the drop of hat. Whether their grievances are addressed to the Centre or to the state, it has never been clear.  Even in the current agitation whereby farmer unions under the cover of Samyukt Kisan Morcha have held the life of common man at ransom not only in and around Chandigarh and but also in Punjab, there is no clarity if they their grievances are against the State or the Centre. 

Starting with the demand for a hike in the price of sugarcane, that made them take to the roads, they have now articled demands to reassert that the MSP is legalised and is extended to all crops.  They did all this while commemorating the third anniversary of launching the Singhu border protest on the Haryana-Delhi border,  Besides, they are also asking for the withdrawal of cases against farmers during the previous agitation, compensation and jobs for family members who died during the course of the agitation, debt waiver and pension of Rs 10,000.  The farmer leaders allege that a committee was constituted to decide on the legality of the MSP on crops and related issues. The Committee has not yet submitted its report.

Last time when the farmers' agitation carried on for quite a long, the involvement of radical elements had become too obvious.  It is time for the Centre to handle the issues articulately and with sensitivity with a concern for farmers in the border state. Such demonstrations must not become a pretext for the subversive elements to raise their head and cause disruption.

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