India facing another farmer agitation, union leader Rakesh Tikait warns


Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said on Wednesday that he has asked farmers to remain united and be ready for a movement, if they wanted to protect their lives and land.

Tikait was speaking to reporters in Bitawda village in Muzaffarnagar’s Budhana in Uttar Pradesh. Tikait accused the government of not fulfilling its poll promise of providing free electricity to farmers besides addressing the issue of rising power tariff and erratic supply in villages.

Between 2020 and 2021, Indian farmers protested against three farm acts that were passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020. The acts, often called the Farm Bills, have been described by farmers’ unions and opposition politicians as “anti-farmer laws”, saying it would leave farmers at the “mercy of corporates”.

The farmers had also demanded the creation of a minimum support price (MSP) bill, to ensure that corporates cannot control the prices. The BJP-led Central government, maintained that the laws will make it effortless for farmers to sell their produce directly to big buyers, and stated that the protests are based on misinformation.

The protest, which began in August 2020, concluded in December 2021, and was one of the longest nationwide farmers’ protests in India’s Independent history.

Tikait addressed the first ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ panchayat earlier this week and said that he would be addressing a series of similar panchayats in the region in the coming days. He also raised questions over the Agnipath scheme for recruitment in defence services.

The BKU leader alleged that the BJP government had exploited farmers and also raised the issue of non-payment of cane dues by sugar mills.

“The mills are not making payment of dues, which has worsened the financial condition of farmers,” said Tikait, who threatened to dump sugarcane at the office of district magistrates in the coming crushing season.

Tikait said farmers, poor and labourers were going through a tough time. “They have multiple problems, which need to be addressed but the government is ignorant towards them,” he added.