Indian Agrarian Crisis now moved to

Farmer-the most endangered species

Protest march against suicides by farmers, SEZs

Posted by Ramoo on February 27, 2007…

Madhur Tankha

Activists demand creation of a Zero Hunger Act

NEW DELHI: Members of Youth for Justice, Kisan Log Abhiyan and MCKS Food for Hungry Foundation jointly staged a march at Jantar Mantar here on Sunday protesting against the continuing farmers’ suicides.

Wearing masks, the protesters holding banners like “The Constitution Guarantees Me Right to Life Yet Death Haunts Me All The Time” shouted slogans against the United Progressive Alliance Government’s policies that were leading to lack of livelihood for farmers across the country. They called for a Zero Hunger Act.

Claiming that the Haryana Government had sent notices to farmers of Rewari to hand over their agricultural land for Special Economic Zones, Kisan Lok Abhiyan State president Dinesh Joshi said: “We don’t mind giving barren land, but parting with fertile agricultural land for big multi-national companies is quite unreasonable.”

Stating that he had received a notice from the State Government to vacate his agricultural land, Lal Singh Yadav of Haryana said he grows “bajra” and mustard in his 10 acre agricultural land but will now be left with no option but to hand over his ancestral land to the administration. “At least farmers should have the right to decide whether they want to sell their land nor not. And the price paid to us by the administration is pittance.”

Sharing their concerns, a number of Delhi University students under the Youth for Justice banner marched with the farmers. Stating that they interacted with farmers of Vidarbha, Youth for Justice representative Kapil Mishra said the youth and the farmers had come on a common platform to awaken the Government so that it comes out with a farmer-friendly budget.

Demanding separate packages and waving off loans for farmers in all the affected districts, Mr. Mishra said organic farming should be encouraged.

“Since 1997, over 25,000 farmers across the country have taken their own lives. The worst affected places are Warangal, Amravati, Vidarbha, Karimnagar and Nizamabad. Even though we are boasting of 8 per cent economic growth, the grim fact is that our farmers are committing suicide. This means our policy-makers need to change their approach towards running the economy,” said Mr. Mishra.

Besides travelling to Vidarbha next week in March for a first hand experience with the situation prevailing in the rural areas, Youth for Justice members will visit Capital’s Connaught Place and Ansal Plaza every Sunday to distribute pamphlets to make Generation X aware of the farmers’ plight.

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