Demands of SKM
Demands of India's farmers' movement led by Samyukt Kisan Morcha:
1. Repeal of the anti-farmer laws brought in by Mr Modi's government last year - The announcement of the decision of the Government was made on November 19th 2021 by the Indian Prime Minister - the actual repeal has to take place through Parliamentary processes. Given the trust deficit that has widened between the protestors and the government, the farmers would like to see this happen before they know that the Government actually agreed to the demand.
2. Make remunerative Minimum Support Prices (MSP) a legal guarantee for all agricultural produce and for all farmers - This is an important pending demand. In fact, this is the only thing, if secured, that will ensure that any future moves by the Government to bring back the "reforms"-related laws will at least secure a minimum price for farmers, even in a corporatised paradigm.
3. Withdraw the Electricity Amendments Bill - A new Bill (legal proposal) that seeks to make changes to the Electricity Act in India is talking about withdrawing cross-subsidising in this sector which will impact farmers and domestic consumers adversely. This Bill also usurps the powers of state governments in India's federal set up. We are seeking a formal commitment, may be in the Supreme Court as a written sworn affidavit, that the Government will not bring this Bill to be passed in the Parliament.
4. Remove farmers from penal provisions of a statute related to Delhi's air quality - Farmers were sought to be criminalised and penalised in a statute related to Delhi's air quality, even though unsustainable practices by farmers are not a significant contributor to Delhi's air pollution. We want incentives and support to be provided to our farmers for them to shift to sustainable farming practices without large scale stubble burning etc., and for shifting out of the current monocultures. Even though the Government agreed to this demand, and removed it from one provision of a legislation it recently passed, it brought back penal provisions insidiously through another provision. We would like to see that Sec.15 in the Act that set up a Commission for Delhi's Air Quality Management.
5. Withdraw all cases foisted on farmers as part of the agitation so far - Farmers had to protest to protect their own livelihoods and that of their future generations. Hundreds of cases have been foisted on protesting farmers including with serious charges like Sedition and Attempt to Murder, on thousands of farmers in the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Chandigarh and Madhya Pradesh. All these cases have to be withdrawn unconditionally.
6. Support to the Martyrs' families, and a Memorial for them - At least 670 farmers have sacrificed their lives for the movement so far. Kin of the martyrs need to be supported with compensation and employment. Parliament of India has to pay homage to these farmers. A memorial has to be erected in their memory by the government.
7. Dismiss Ajay Mishra Teni from the Union Government and arrest him - He is the sootradhar or mastermind behind the barbaric killing of peacefully-protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh. He continues to be in the Council of Ministers of Modi Government, that too as a Minister of State for Home Affairs which controls law and order matters! Farmers demand that he be sacked from the Government and arrested, and legal proceedings initiated against him.
Until these demands are met, the struggle continues.