More than one lakh farmers and farm labourers from 200 farmers’ organisations will march towards Ramlila ground in Delhi from different parts of the country to lead a two-day protest against the ongoing rural distress.
The march would be led by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), the Kisan Mukti March will begin on November 29 demanding the Centre to legislate acts to free farmers from loans and guarantee a remunerative price for their produce.
A statement from the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) led by senior journalist P Sainath noted, “Dilli Chalo has evolved as a direct result of the apathy of not only our nation’s leaders but also the complicity of indifferent citizens. Those who have profited, dismissed or merely been complacent about the rising inequality in India. Those who have witnessed the deepening misery of the dispossessed, including the death by suicide of well over 300,000 farmers these past 20 years. Grave problems of farmer suicides, deaths of children due to starvation, growing unemployment, increased informalisation, crippling indebtedness, a devastation of the country’s cattle economy and overall precariousness, has led to a collapse of agriculture. And yet we remain unperturbed.”
It further observed that this crisis, which is no longer just a measure of loss of land, incomes, jobs and productivity, but of our humanity demands our attention now. Dilli Chalo is not the culmination but rather the beginning. It is the beginning of the long overdue collective mobilisation against the economic and social injustices meted out to over 70% of our population. It’s a response to the need for new radical forms of urban and rural solidarity. We need to encourage dialogue regarding rural Indias’ quest for social and economic justice, for liberation from debt, remunerative prices, fair wages, employment, education, health and nutritional security. A dialogue initiated by the very victims of the agrarian crisis themselves. The rest of us need to be made aware of the impact of devastating farming policies, the lack of rural credit and fair prices, and the unbearable violence of privatising water, healthcare and education.
It noted, “The pleadings, over the past 25 years, by distressed farmers, landless agricultural labourers, forest communities, fisherfolk and the foot soldiers of our country’s literacy and health care programmes – Anganwadi, Accredited Social Health Activists and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife workers, have failed to galvanise successive governments into taking concrete action to address agrarian distress. Little has been done to address the additional vulnerability of women, Dalit and Adivasi farmers and agricultural workers whose tireless labour upholds the rural economy.”
The PARI explained that all the things mentioned above prompted the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), representing almost 200 farming organisations and millions of our country’s farmers, workers and agricultural labourers, to organise a Kisan Mukti March to Delhi for two days on November 29 and 30. For the first time, they will be placing their demands in a statutory framework by asking for the implementation of two Kisan Mukti Bills. One bill is around Freedom from Indebtedness, and another is about Guaranteed Remunerative Prices.
It concluded, “Dilli Chalo! The war cry that was given by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, a defiant patriot, called on the oppressed and enslaved to go forward and capture the seat of power. It is now time for our most vulnerable masses, the rural Indians enslaved by agriculture, to reach the Parliament. To have their pleas answered, or in the very least, have their voices heard.”