The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), a farmers’ body associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), came out in support of the Union government on the new farm laws in Gandhinagar on Friday saying that they are not part of the ongoing farmers’ protest on the Delhi border as it is “political” in nature.
The Sangh also announced a countrywide campaign on Republic Day to educate people on the new farm laws.
Speaking at a press conference in Gandhinagar on Friday, Mohini Mohan Mishra, national secretary of BKS, said, “We are not part of this agitation because it has given ample space to politicians to spread their agenda and these people (protestors) have no control over violence. The agitation that is going on at the Delhi border is primarily due to issues faced by the farmers of Punjab and Haryana.”
Mishra added, “We believe that the new farm laws are for the benefit of farmers across the country… especially small, landless farmers. To repeal the laws for a section of farmers (those protesting) is not a viable option. At the beginning of the farmers’ agitation, BKS was in dilemma as we could see many political figures hijacking the agitation. We told the agitating Kisan unions to not allow any political figures at their protests but today we all know the path this agitation has taken.”
Announcing its plan to conduct a national drive to educate people in villages regarding the new farm laws, Mishra said, “Over 150 representatives of the BKS met in Bengaluru from January 1 to January 3 where it was decided to undertake a membership drive in one lakh villages… by the end of this year, we intend to set up our committees at gram, taluka and district levels. There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings with regard to the new farm laws and on January 26, we will hold a nationwide campaign to educate people in villages on the new law.”
The BKS also added that it has given its own set of demands to the union government on the new farm laws and said that they will hold an agitation in the future in a peaceful manner.
“When the new farm laws were being introduced, BKS studied it and gave four demands to the Union government that included portal registration of traders, abolishment of tax on farming, setting up of kisan courts and bank guarantee by traders. Of these, the government accepted the first two demands and we will keep fighting for the next two in the interest of farmers. We believe that both open markets and Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC)s must be there for the farmers,” said Mishra.
When asked about the recent comments by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on the agitating farmers, calling them “Khalistanis”, “tukde tukde gang” and “anti-nationals”, Mishra said, “This is a political fight and he has spoken politically. Farmers can also eat potatoes and not just regular citizens… When Canadian PM Justin Trudeau made a speech on the agitation, we felt Khalistani supporters might be behind it.”