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Why Are Farmers In India Protesting Against The Farm Bills?

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How Was The Bill Passed In The Parliament?

The bill was passed in September. The bill was passed by voice vote, but the opposition insisted on a division vote. In the constitution, it is written that if a member of parliament asks for a division vote, in any circumstances need to listen. But Harivansh ji overruled the request for division vote, instead, he said that the division vote is only possible when all the members of parliament would go back to their seats. In short, the Farmer Bills was passed undemocratically. Also, then eight opposition MPs were suspended for misbehaviour and these opposition MPs sat down at Gandhi Statue in parliament house for protests.

Farmers carry placards at a site of a protest against the newly passed farm bills at Singhu border near Delhi, India, November 28, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

Are These Farm Bills Beneficial? And If Yes, For Whom?

The Farmers Bill was tabled by Narendra Tomar ji (Union Minister for Agriculture). According to him, these bills will change the state of farmers and it is a masterstroke.

The government approved three ordinances related to agriculture. According to these ordinances, it would give farmers freedom of choice, they could sell their produce wherever they wish to. These ordinances state that the areas outside the APMCs will have no taxes on sale or purchase. According to farmers, it will be a disadvantage to them as in APMCs mandis everything is regulated, transactions are taken into account, there is a minimum support price. But outside the mandis MSP did exist, with no one to regulate and to ensure that the farmers are treated fairly.

By these ordinances, the big company would establish the agriculture sector of India. Farmers will be easily exploited and will not get adequate money for their hard work and labour. In short, these ordinances are bad and will not improve the state of farmers. As a result of this farmers of Haryana, Punjab, Madya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

What Is Currently Happening In India?

On November 26, farmers announced an indefinite strike, with the slogan “Dilli Chalo”. The government tried their utmost to stop the protests by setting up barricades, by making use of water cannons and tear gas and in place, they dug up the highway to stop farmers. In many places in Haryana, Section 144 was imposed,  bus services were suspended, more than 100 farm union members were arrested, more than 500 farmers were arrested in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Eventually, farmers reached Delhi and carried their protest.

Also, the media is addressing these farmers as Khalistani, congress has funded them and they are anti-national.

My Take On The Situation

As per my opinion, freedom of speech is over in India. I think Modi might just lead India to dictatorship. Also, before 2014, in any of the protests that took place, the media of the country questioned the government, but now the media asks the protesters why they are protesting.

The government should withdraw the bills as 70% of India’s population is dependent on agriculture. If the government didn’t do this then, India’s ec0nomy will shrink and one law will affect the entire country. As I specified earlier, every decision made by Modi is very quick and termed as a masterstroke. The government should improve the mandi system as there are some flaws in that.

If the bills are not withdrawn, the farmers will do a non-violent protest and by this, the reputation of Sikhs will be harmed. There can be a situation like Operation Blue Star.

As this was a massive protest. The government did a meeting to make an amendment to the law. On 27 November, the  Delhi police asked for permission from the Delhi government to convert 9 stadiums into temporary jails where the protestors and farmers could place. On 7th December Kejriwal with his ministers went for supporting the farmers and on 8th December he was arrested, it was a home arrest. Also, on independence day on Red Fort Neshan Shahib was hoisted and India’s flag was not removed. There were some chaos and violence in Central Delhi as farmers took another route for their rally.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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