The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, a coalition of about 130 farmer organisations from across the country, is planning a nation-wide yatra to highlight the plight of farmers and the failure of the Narendra Modi-led government to address the issues plaguing agriculture. According to a tentative plan, the yatra will begin on August 9 in India’s northernmost state Jammu and Kashmir and conclude in Kanyakumari, the southern tip of the country.
“The government has not taken steps to address the many issues that are causing a severe distress in the rural sector of the country. Farmers across the country have been protesting for a long time, but the government has chosen to ignore them. We are now planning a nation-wide yatra starting in Kashmir and ending in Kanyakumari to mobilise farmers to in order to agitate,” said Shiv Kumar Sharma, convenor of the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh.
According to the plan, the protests will intensify as the yatra reaches Madhya Pradesh, the state where the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh was born after last year’s protests in Mandsaur. “In MP, our organisation, the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, will take the yatra to every part of the state to highlight the failure of the state and the Centre in dealing with the various issues that are affecting farmers.
Our members will go from village to village and the yatra will last a full month in the state,” said Sharma.
The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh’s plans form part of a growing number of ongoing/planned protests by various organisations across the country. The Yogendra Yadav led-Swaraj India, on July 1, began a 10-day yatra in Haryana demanding farmers be paid 1.5 times their cost of production and labourers be provided adequate employment.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), which had in March this year organised the Kisan long march from Nasik to Mumbai, recently announced that it will be organising a ‘long march of the dispossessed’ to Delhi demanding a special session of parliament to be dedicated to discussing issues related to rural distress.
In the last two years, farmer organisations across the country have organised several protests demanding that they be adequately compensated for their produce and a given one-time loan waiver. Forming a key part of the farmers’ demand for adequate compensation is the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendation that Minimum Support Price be set at 1.5 times the cost of production.
Published in arrangement with The Wire.