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Thousands of farmers under SKM banner to march to Raj Bhavans today

The senior leaders of the SKM gathered in Mohali Thursday where they formed a committee to ensure smooth conduct of the march to the Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh.

Jagjit Singh Dallewal ends his fast after Punjab minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal apologises over CM Mann's remarks against farmers' stirs and declares a consensus over their demands (Twitter/@KuldeepSinghAAP)

Chandigarh will witness a gathering of thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana Saturday as they march to the Raj Bhavans of the respective states to mark the second anniversary of the agitation against the now-repealed three central farm laws.

The nationwide call to march to the Raj Bhavans on November 26, the day when the agitation started in 2020, has been given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of farm unions, which was constituted spearhead the stir at Delhi borders.

The senior leaders of the SKM gathered in Mohali Thursday where they formed a committee to ensure smooth conduct of the march to the Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh.

SKM leaders, including Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Darshan Pal and Harinder Singh Lakhowal, discussed the strategy regarding the march and the memorandum that would be handed over to the governor.

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They told reporters that the members of 32 farmers’ organisations would gather at Gurdwara Sri Amb Sahib and hold a rally there before carrying out the march.

The farmers will be reaching Chandigarh in buses, cars, and tractor-trolleys, said Jagmohan Singh Patiala, the general secretary of BKU Dakaunda.

“Around 600 vehicles of BKU Dakaunda will be entering Chandigarh via Rajpura side,” said Jagmohan Singh who is also SKM’s coordination committee member.

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He said that it was on November 26, 2020 that farmers had started marching towards national capital. “The government tried to halt our march through Haryana by placing barricades, digging roads, using water cannons, lathis and what not. But the farmers marched on, reached Delhi’s border and started agitation at Tikri, Singhu and Kundli. An year later, on November 19, 2021 Prime Minister Narendra Modi repealed the three black laws and on December 11 we returned. Over 750 farmers died during the year-long agitation,” said Jagmohan Singh.

Darshan Pal, also a coordination committee member of SKM added, “A year later, the government’s stand over our demands, on which they had agreed on paper, are yet to be implemented. We will be submitting a memorandum in this regard”.

In the memorandum, there will be some more demands, including pension for farmers aged over 60 years, insurance scheme for all crops and waiving of all loans of farmers, the farm leaders said.

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Darshan Pal accused the government of not being ready to consider the biggest demand of the farmers — a legal guarantee on the MSP, adding that the SKM had rejected the government’s committee on it.

BKU Ugrahan general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said the farm unions will jointly march towards Raj Bhawan under the banner of SKM.

“We will send out a message that unity of farmers and labourers cannot be broken. The unions may have ideological differences, but on farmers’ issues, we are united,” said Kokrikalan, adding that farmers from 1200 villages in Punjab owing allegiance to BKU Ugrahan will take part in the march.

Meanwhile, farmers from Haryana will gather in Panchkula before moving towards Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh, a farmer leader from Fatehabad Mandeep Nathwan said.

However, Gurnam Singh Chaduni-led BKU will not participate in the march. The Chaduni faction had held a rally in Ambala on Thursday to demand minimum support price (MSP) for the crops apart from seeking withdrawal of the cases lodged against farmers in connection with violence in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh in 2021.

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Earlier while observing the first anniversary of the death of five people — four farmers and one journalist — in Lakhimpur Kheri, farm leaders had reiterated their demand for the sacking of Union Minister of State (Home) Ajay Kumar Mishra, whose son Ashish is the prime accused in the case. According to senior BKU leader, Rakesh Tikait, their demand for Mishra’s sacking will also be raised during the march on November 26.

The key demands of farm unions

  • Legally guaranteed Minimum Support Price
  • Freedom from indebtedness through a comprehensive loan waiver scheme
  • Withdrawal of Electricity Amendment Bill 2022
  • Dismissal and legal action against Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni
  • Comprehensive and effective crop insurance scheme to speedily compensate farmers for crop loss due to natural calamities
  • Pension of Rs 5,000 per month to all marginal, small and medium scale farmers and agricultural workers
  • Withdrawal of all false cases registered against farmers during the agitation against now repealed farm laws
  • Payment of compensation to families of all farmers who died during agitation

First published on: 26-11-2022 at 08:07 IST
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