The Republic Day tractor rally protesting new anti-farmer laws rolled in to Red Fort and made history. Farmers are protesting new legislation that could leave them at the mercy of corporate sharks, and citizens are standing by them. After protesting Aarey deforestation and Citizenship Amendment Act vociferously last year, citizen groups are rallying together in solidarity with farmers protesting unfairness.
This support has effectively converted the farmers’ protests into a movement. If strength in numbers is what the ruling administration believes in, then this movement is getting stronger every day. Day 62 saw the might of protestors in full force during the tractor rally. It was a metaphorical middle finger to the arrogance of the administration which expects citizens to blindly obey any new diktat it doles out.
Citizens in Telangana Unite
The rallies across India are rising above divides of class, caste and gender. Doctors, lawyers, school teachers, homemakers, slum residents and software professionals raised their voices in unison as several citizen groups bandied together in Hyderabad on January 24, 2021. They are standing in solidarity with farmers in Delhi and the rest of the nation. Hundreds of citizens in Hyderabad paid their respects to protestors who lost their lives in the scuffle with the police at the Delhi border. In their remembrance, December 20 has been declared as ‘Farmer Martyrs Shraddhanjali’ day.
In fact, the events spread out from Hyderabad across all districts of Telangana. Writers and poets in the State converged at the Somajiguda press club for a dharna.
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Telangana Domestic Workers Union, Human Rights Forum, CHATRI, Telangana Women and Transgender JAC, All India Parents Association and many other labour and citizen groups in Telangana are actively calling out the BJP-led government’s unfair stance. Farmer organisations like Telangana Rythu Sangham and Telangana Rashtra Raitu Sangham have held an indefinite dharna at Indira Park in the State.
Maha Rally in Kerala
Kozhikode Citizens Forum recently organised a maha rally in solidarity with farmers. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan publicly expressed his support on for the protesting farmers in December. He urged the Centre to repeal the contentious laws. In fact, Vijayan moved a resolution in the State assembly against the three farm laws, which was unanimously passed by the house.
Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samiti (part of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee) has found support from labour organisations in Kerala. They have been on an indefinite strike since December 12, 2020. The Chief Minister attended the dharna and where he said that the BJP should not harbour any illusion that it could suppress the protests by dividing the people.
The stage is set for a mass movement in favour of the farmers, who have been working tirelessly to feed the nation.