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In Focus

June, 7

Farmers demand: Fair price & loan waiver; Govt’s Reply: Firing Squad

Lie. Kill. Blame. This is the mantra of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh yesterday, 6 farmers were killed and several injured in firings. The farmers were protesting for better remuneration for their produce and loan waiver. The first reaction of the Shivraj Chouhan Government was to blame Opposition leaders. The second reaction was of the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister who made the ridiculous claim that neither the CRPF nor the local police opened fire. These two comments show the depths to which the BJP has fallen. Farmers seek justice from the Government, but face firing squads in reply.

The BJP, starting from the Prime Minister himself, down to his Ministers, party colleagues and party workers, have engaged in an undeclared war on Indian Farmers. During the run-up to the 2014 General Elections, Shri Narendra Modi made grand promises of “Cost + 50% profit on MSP.” But, this promise too has been relegated to the graveyard of BJP’s forgotten promises.

The BJP is deliberately not procuring from farmers, even at MSP. Procurement of wheat in 2016-17 fell to 229.6 lakh tonnes from 288.8 lakh tonnes in 2015-16. This is a short fall of nearly 60 lakh tonnes. For rice, the shortfall was nearly 38 lakh tonnes. To make matters worse, in 2015-16, the BJP Government permitted the import of pulses at Rs 44/kg and retailed it at Rs 230/kg. In 2016-17, the BJP once again permitted the import of pulses at these low rates despite there being a bumper crop in India. The farmers are being denied their fair prices, yet the Mafia is prospering. The value of India’s Agricultural Exports fell from US$ 3,295 million in 2013-14 to US$ 1,957 million in 2016-17.

BJP rule has been mired by farmer protests. Tamil farmers resorted to eating rats, eating their own faeces and rolling in the nude in front of the Parliament to get the attention of the BJP Government to help them tide over one of the worst droughts in a century. In Maharashtra, protesting farmers have taken to dumping their produce after talks with the BJP CM failed. And there are similar stories from across the country.

BJP policies have completely alienated the Indian farmers. They have carried out a concerted attack on their livelihoods and ensured that they are stripped of their dignity.

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