by a Fact-Finding Delegation
New Delhi | June 13, 2017: Following a call given by Jai Kisan Andonlan of Swaraj Abhiyan, NAPM, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti of MP, Bandhua Mukti Morcha and several farmer organisations, a delegation of their representatives went to visit Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh where 7 farmers were killed in a police firing on 6th of June. The delegation comprised about 25 representatives from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, UP, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi, besides local farmers and farmer leaders. These included Ms. Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh, Dr. Sunilam, Paras Saklecha, Kalpana Parulekar, Avik Saha, Ajit Singh, Balakrishnan and Yogendra Yadav.
What follows are some of the key observations made by this delegation.
Law & Order, Legal & Human Rights – Nightmarish Situation
· Democratic Rights & Human Rights at an unbelievable low in MP – Constitution & Laws of India seem not to apply here – has it ceded from the Union of India?
· Police & Civil Administration of Ratlam District keep strong surveillance on, illegally stop (from visiting Mandsaur) & arrest activists like Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh, Yogendra Yadav & Avik Saha, with lifelong adherence to peace and non-violence, on ground of breach of peace!!
· In agitation-free Neemuch District, police illegally prevent Yogendra Yadav, Dr. Sunilam, Avik Saha & Ajit Yadav from interacting with villagers; use sheer brute force to push them out of MP into Rajasthan
· Delegation interacts with farmer leaders and activists and finds complete break-down of rule of law; reign of terror as Districts affected by and surrounding locations of farmers agitation cordoned off and jungle law implemented
· Independent persons and agencies barred entry while full might of state appears to be influencing & torturing witnesses to the murder of farmers by police, causing disappearance of material evidence and running an extortion racket by intimidation
Probable Background Causes of Present Situation – Deep Rooted & Long Neglected Life & Livelihood Issues of Farmers
· Already un-remunerative and further downward spiraling prices of all produce (Report annexed), despite MP reporting highest agricultural growth in the country and winning prizes, seems to have lead to wide spread discontent; State Government’s inaction in this crisis fuelled unrest
· Non-fulfillment of ruling BJP’s Manifesto promise of 50% profit above cost price compounded with the slow down of purchasing power of traders in mandis due to demonetisation completed the cycle of despair, disillusionment and discontent
· Local reports complained of extreme bureaucracy at mandis & looming threat of disentitlement of rights; e.g. compulsory registration of seller-farmers only through Aadhar, downgrading of ration entitlement under PDS ration if sales above 50 quintals made, 50% payment through bank, which forthwith deducts all loans
· Drought of 2 consecutive years have severely depleted the MP farmers and have led to the 4th highest farmers’ suicides in the country in 2015; with added pressure of loan repayment and almost 50% price fall in produce, farmers have reached the end of their tether
· Non-payment & whimsical small payments of insurance for crop loss made farmers desperate for redressal of their financial grievances
· Since the State has already admitted that firing was done without any formal order and without following due process, the death of farmers in police firing is nothing but murder by machinery of state· The heinous and brutal killing of a farmer by beating and torture in the hands of police, after the gunning down of 5 farmers, is unbelievably shocking & can only be termed state sponsored terrorism
· It is sad to note that Madhya Pradesh has learnt no lesson from the findings of the Commissions that investigated the Multai Firing during Congress regime, when 23 farmers were brutally gunned down; Again, there was no dialogue with the protestors before firing; such dialogue could have easily prevented this unnecessary loss of life
· The State of Madhya Pradesh must immediately ensure remunerative price for all crops grown in Madhya Pradesh in fulfillment of the promise made by BJP in its manifesto (cost + 50%) and also ensure guaranteed purchase of the produce through market stabilization funds and other mechanisms; agriculture is a state subject and Madhya Pradesh, like Karnataka can ensure relief for farmers through agriculture price commission and allied statutory interventions
· We demand that farmers of Madhya Pradesh be given a one-time waiver of all loans, which, coupled with remunerative prices, will pull them out of the vicious cycle of debt and death though debt-trap
· The State of Madhya Pradesh must immediately, in consultation with farmers organizations (1) appoint an Independent Commission headed by a sitting High Court Judge (2) prepare comprehensive TOR of the Commission to go into all circumstances that lead to the murder of farmers by police firing
· The State of Madhya Pradesh must immediately register murder case against all policemen and administrative officers who ordered firing on farmers and executed the order
· The State of Madhya Pradesh must immediately withdraw all cases registered against farmers in connection with the Farmers Movement in Madhya Pradesh during 1st to 10th June 2017
· The State of Madhya Pradesh must immediately ensure that comprehensive crop insurance is provided for all crops grown in Madhya Pradesh and not just a few crops as presently stipulated under the PMFBY
· Opposition parties like the Congress who have extended support to the farmers must establish their credential by ensuring that in the states of Punjab and Karnataka, where they are in power, there is no shooting on and killing of farmers, MSP at cost + 50% is given in terms of the recommendation of the Swaminathan Commission and all loans of farmers are waived
Our Position & Next Steps
· Swaraj Abhiyan, National Alliance of Peoples Movements, Bandhua Mukti Morcha and the several other farmers organizations that have come together, support all peaceful movement of farmers anywhere in India, that ensures farmers can live a life of dignity and have sustainable livelihoods
· In association with several farmers and youth organizations of Madhya Pradesh and other parts of India, on 6th July 2017 we shall hold a Shahid Kisan Mahapanchayat in Madhya Pradesh
· At this decisive and historic hour, we call upon all farmers organizations of the country to set aside ideological and personal differences for the larger good of farmers and form a single platform to fights for their rights, starting with being organizers of the Kisan Mahapanchayat
· We shall constitute a Peoples’ Tribunal on Police Firing & Torture on Farmers at Mandsaur with a clearly defined TOR; eminent authorities on the subject shall be part of the tribunal
Karz Mukt Kisaan
Zahar Mukt Bhojan
Atmahatya Mukt Bharat