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800 Scientists And Academicians Sign Solidarity Statement Opposing Farm Laws

About 800 academicians, scientists and researchers from various educational institutes have signed a solidarity statement in support of the farmers’ protest movement against the farm bills. The signatories come from over various research institutes and universities across the country, including IISc, IISERs, IITs, ICTS, etc.

A group of students at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore have formed a forum “Students with farmers” who initiated this signature campaign as well as a fundraiser for the farmers. The students are concerned about the apprehended corporate aggression in the agricultural sector of the country that might lead to incessant price hike of agricultural commodities, thereby causing sufferings to the common people.

The “Students with farmers” forum was started at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in view of the farmers’ protest against the draconian farm laws which were passed in the parliament in an undemocratic fashion, without proper discussion with the farmers at all, taking advantage of the pandemic situation.

students with farmer forum
Photo: Students with Farmers/Facebook

Demonstrations were organized in the campus under this banner. Some students observed a hunger strike in solidarity with the farmers on 23rd December 2020, National Farmers Day. The signature campaign was started at the same time.

About 800 academicians across the country have signed in the solidarity statement in support of the farmers. This farmers’ movement is not just a movement of the farmers, it is rather a movement of all working-class people of the country.

If these acts are promulgated, there will be severe corporate aggression in the agricultural sector. This will lead to an unprecedented price hike of agricultural products and all the common people will suffer as a result. Hence, we as students feel it imperative to stand by the farmers in their struggle to compel the government to repeal these anti-farmer farm acts.

The forum has also initiated a fundraiser to send financial aid to the farmers protesting at the borders of Delhi. Rs.20000 has been donated to All India Kisan Sabha. Donations have also been sent to a few other farmers’ organizations to help them sustain the movement.

farmers protest
If these acts are promulgated, there will be severe corporate aggression in the agricultural sector. Representational image.

Statement Of Solidarity With Farmers By The Academic Community

As citizens and members of the academic community, we are deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the farm sector. The seasonal nature of farming renders farmers deeply vulnerable to exploitation at the time of harvest. We strongly believe that real reforms are sorely needed to protect the livelihoods of the millions of farmers who bring food to our plate despite enormous hardships. 

However, real reforms are successful only when they are based on extensive consultation and consensus-building, particularly with the stakeholders (the farmers) involved and affected by the reforms. We are therefore anguished to note the failures of the Government on several fronts:

  • Failure to follow due process. These reforms, touted by the Government as historic and sweeping in their nature, have been passed without much deliberation or discussion in parliamentary committees, unlike other successful Acts that often go through a year of deliberation before being passed. 
  • Failure to consult the real stakeholders. The reforms have been enacted without consulting the farmers or farmers organizations who are the real stakeholders and who will be the most impacted by the reforms. 
  • Failure to acknowledge genuine concerns. Farmers organizations nationwide have expressed genuine concerns regarding the reforms. The Government has flatly refused to acknowledge these concerns. We are particularly concerned that these reforms render small farmers vulnerable to exploitation by large-scale buyers by creating unregulated markets. 
  • Failure to acknowledge the right to peaceful dissent. Farmers nationwide have organized massive peaceful protests to voice their concern against the farm bills, but the government has responded to these protests with force, high-handedness and misinformation, with no major progress made even till today. 

This is a golden opportunity for the Government to listen to its people. We call upon the Government to protect the right to peaceful and non-violent dissent by the farmers, engage in constructive dialogue, and enact genuine reforms to protect small farmers from exploitation. 

We stand in solidarity with farmers across India and salute their efforts. 

This statement is being issued in the personal capacity of all the undersigned members of academic institutes across India. 

The Signatories

Names of all the signatories can be found here.

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