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Thursday, January 21, 2021

10 jail inmates on hunger strike: ‘With farmers against new farm laws’

“The Central government should have at least shown a soft attitude towards the farmers,” the inmates wrote.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | December 27, 2020 10:24:19 pm
Farmers protest at Shahajanpur at Alwar Border.

IN solidarity with the farmers protesting against the new farm laws brought by the BJP government at the Centre, at least 10 activists lodged at Dumdum Central Jail on Sunday started their “symbolic” hunger strike. Eight inmates of Behrampur jail are expected to go on a hunger strike from Monday.

The inmates, most of them arrested in connection with Maoist cases, in a letter announcing their hunger strike accused the Central government of taking advantage of lockdown and pandemic to pass the farm laws “to benefit the corporates”. They alleged that while the farmers are fighting for their rights in this bitter winter, the government instead of showing some solidarity is trying to complicate the matter.

“The Central government should have at least shown a soft attitude towards the farmers,” the inmates wrote.

Among the 10 inmates on hunger strike are Akhil Chandra Ghosh, Anup Roy and Ashim Bhattacharya.

Ranjit Sur, vice-president of Association For Protection of Democratic Rights ( APDR), said: “It is their right to protest for which we have extended our support. We have got in touch with jail authorities to ensure that there is no pressure on these inmates to break their fast. In solidarity with the protesting farmers, they are fasting from 6 am Sunday till tomorrow. We oppose these new agricultural laws. They must be repealed.”

“It is the petty politics of both the state and Central governments that common people are suffering. The state government is not implementing some schemes of the Central government and thus depriving farmers of minimum benefit that they could get. Having said that the Central government, on the other hand, is doing injustice to the farmers with this new laws. On every scheme, they are promoting the Prime Minister, which is just petty politics,” Sur added.

Meanwhile, TMC leader and Minister for Correctional Homes Ujjawal Biswas said that he too was “ethically supporting” the prisoners’ decision to go on a hunger strike for a cause.

“I feel everyone has the right to protest or support a cause. I am ethically supporting them. The farm laws are anti-farmers,” Biswas said.

“As far as Central schemes not being implemented in Bengal is concerned, then I must say that whatever schemes are being talked about have already been implemented in Bengal first and they have copied those schemes,” the minister added.

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