January 29, 2021 1:31:09 am
Activist Anna Hazare will begin his fast unto death on Saturday in Ralegan Siddhi, his native village in Ahmednagar, over his demands pertaining to the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and revision of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) calculation formula.
In a statement emailed to the press, Hazare stated that although several representatives of the (Union) government have met him in the last few days, they have failed to address his concerns. “Hence, I will start my fast at Ralegan Siddhi’s Yadavbaba Temple from January 30, on the occasion of the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. I appeal to all supporters that I will fast alone in Ralegan and those who wish to support should do so by agitating at the government offices at village, tehsil or district level, by peaceful and non-violence means (sic),” said Hazare.
The activist said that he was saddened over the violence that played out during the farmers’ agitation in Delhi on January 26.
“I always want agitations to be peaceful and devoid of violence. In the last forty years, I have undertaken many agitations. In the Lokpal agitation of 2011, lakhs of citizens had participated from across the country, but not a single one of them picked up a stone. Non-violence is the strength of any agitation. This is what Gandhiji has taught us,” said Hazare.
Hazare’s chief demands are that the government should give autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP); the MSP be fixed at C2+50 per cent (C2 is a weighted average of the cost of production) and recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission be implemented.
In March 2017, Hazare had staged a protest in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan over the appointment of Lokpal and the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations. After seven days of the agitation, then agriculture minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and then Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had met Hazare and promised to resolve the issues raised by him. After the government failed to act on its promises, Hazare had started a fast on January 29, 2019.
Subsequently, other representatives of the government had met him and promised to constitute another high-level committee by inviting former agriculture ministers and representatives of various farmers’ unions to present a report before October 2019. Hazare maintains that none of these promises were acted upon.
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