Social activist Anna Hazare on December 8 sat on a day-long ‘hunger strike’ to support agitating farmers who have called “Bharat Bandh” demanding repeal of the Centre’s farm laws. He said the agitation should spread across the country so that the government comes under pressure to act in the interests of cultivators. In a recorded message, He appreciated farmers’ protests at the borders of Delhi, adding no violence has taken place in the last 10 days of the agitation.
Hazare, “I appeal to the people of the country that the agitation which is going on in Delhi should spread across the country. The situation needs to created to create pressure on the government, and to achieve this, farmers need to hit streets. But no one should resort to violence,” added Anna Hazare who began his fast in Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
He said that, this was the “right time” for farmers to come out on streets and get their issues resolved. “I had backed this cause earlier also, and will continue to do so,” he asserted. He also expressed the need to grant autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and to implement the recommendations of the M S Swaminathan Commission.
- Government should repeal the three laws;
- Law on Minimum Support Price (MSP);
- Introduce MSP based on Swaminathan Commission Report;
- Withdraw jail term for stubble burning;
- 50 per cent subsidy on diesel;
- Withdraw cases filed against farmers.
The octogenarian warned of agitation if the government fails to grant autonomy to the CACP and implement recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission. “The government only gave assurances but never fulfilled these demands,” Hazare asserted. Meanwhile, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) general secretary Hannan Mollah stated, the Bharat Bandh is a show of strength by the farmers, and their legitimate demands have found support from people across the country.
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The government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture. “India is the world’s largest Democracy – they owe it to their citizens to allow peaceful protest. I encourage these folks and PM (Narendra) Modi to have peaceful, productive discussions,” Democratic Congressman Josh Harder said.
However, Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting on various borders of Delhi since November 26, seeking repeal of three farm laws enacted in September. Yet, the ongoing agrarian tragedy makes farmers one of the most distressed groups in India.