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.
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.
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:
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.
Names of all the signatories can be found here.