Farmers’ protest: AISA JNU calls for “effigy burning” against “anti-farmer” central gov’t 

In its call for the effigy burning, the student organisation condemns the police excess on the protests and asks why the government is so afraid of farmers 
Pic Credit: EdexLive
Pic Credit: EdexLive

Expressing solidarity with farmers protesting at the Delhi border, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) unit of the All India Students’ Association (AISA) has called for an effigy burning against the “anti-farmer” central government on the campus today, February 14. 

Farmers and farmers’ unions under the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha have been marching towards Delhi from Punjab and Haryana, protesting in demand for guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) for the past few days.

The protesting farmers have been met with tear gas shelling, water cannons, lathi charges, multiple layers of barricades, deployment of police personnel at protest sites, and internet bans at the Delhi border and neighbouring areas, allegedly in an attempt to prevent the dharna from reaching the National Capital. 

In its call for the effigy burning, AISA condemns the “police high-handedness” on the farmers, and asks, “Why is the Government afraid of the country’s farmers?”

The association further calls students to join the effigy burning in front of the Sabarmati Dhaba on the JNU campus at 5 pm today. 

Elaborating on this act, Dhananjay, an AISA activist from JNU says that the effigy burning is a gesture of “Student-Peasant Unity”. 

“A huge number of the students at JNU are children of farmers. For many of us, it is not just a farmers’ or a political issue, but a deeply personal one. It is a matter of our families’ well-being, as it is a matter of expressing solidarity with our farmers” he says. 

He also notes that AISA expresses its solidarity with not only farmers, but also agricultural labourers, landless farmers, and small farmers.

Noting the Haryana State Government and the Central Government’s response to the protests, Dhananjay says, “The Haryana border has been fortified more than our national borders. Farmers are being subjected to tear gas. The government is treating the farmers’ protest like it is a threat to national security.” 

He further asks why the Central Government is so afraid of the farmers, who are citizens of India and have been protesting peacefully and democratically. “Protests are an essential part of a democracy and a way for people to make their dissatisfaction heard. Anyone who is concerned about democracy and respects the Constitution should be concerned that the government is trying to curb the farmers’ protests,” he states. 

He further alleges that following the farmers’ protests in 2020 against the three farm laws, the Central Government retracted the laws just ahead of the Punjab elections – but is refusing to guarantee MSP. 

“In Bihar, where I am from, I have seen firsthand how the Mandi system is not helpful for farmers. This government will confer the Bharat Ratna to MS Swaminathan, but it will ignore his recommendation of guaranteeing MSP,” he says. 

In recent news, Madhura Swaminathan, developmental economist and MS Swaminathan’s daughter stated that farmers are our annadaatas (providers of food) and that they should not be treated like criminals, at an event by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) on Tuesday, February 13, to honour the posthumous Bharat Ratna to MS Swaminathan. 

Dhananjay also talks about how AISA and other progressive student organisations, especially those from JNU, are ready to march with the farmers this time too.

“During the previous farmers’ movement, two buses filled with JNU student activists travelled up to the Singhu border to extend our solidarity with the farmers. Our cultural organisations have even organised movie screenings and musical nights at the protest site. We are prepared to join the farmers this time, too,” he says.

“Everyone who eats food must support the farmers’ protest,” he adds.  

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