On 9th August, Quit India Day, peasants all over the country, on the call of the All India Kisan Mahasabha, protested against the Government’s move to approve GM seeds and to roll back crucial and hard-won protections in the Land Acquisition Act. Subsequently, the approval for GM field trials has been put on hold, but the Government’s intentions to promote corporate interests over farmers’ interests is clear.
Rallies and public meetings were organized at Udaipur, Pratapgarh, Jhunjhunu, Jaipur and Ajmer in Rajasthan.
A huge dharna and meeting of 2500 farmers was held at the Giridih district HQ in Jharkhand, which was addressed by the All India Kisan Mahasabha General Secretary Rajaram Singh. He said that the Modi Government was ruining farmers to benefit corporations. The proposed amendments to the Land Acquisition Act would also increase food insecurity throughout the country. The Modi Government is trying to remove provisions in the existing Bill such as mandatory consent of 70% farmers, Social Impact Assessment, etc. The existing law has a compensation rate of only 4 times instead of 6 times the market rate; but the Modi govt, in addition to removing even this, also wants to do away with giving compensation for workers and labourers dependent on the land. The attempt is also to remove obstacles to acquisition of multi-crop land. Farmers have long demanded that there should be a land conservation law instead of a land acquisition law. The Modi govt has given the green signal for dangerous field trials of GM seeds without proper research and investigation, which will have far reaching disastrous consequences. The govt allowed field trials of GM rice, wheat, vegetables, brinjal, pulses and oil crops under pressure of MNCs like Monsanto.
A mass meeting was also held at Ramgarh district, Chandan Kiyari block HQ in Bokaro district, and Garhwa district, Jharkhand.
A march was taken out on August 9 at Lalkuan in Nainital district, addressed by Kisan Mahasabha leaders after which an effigy of Modi was burnt. Dharnas and meetings were held at Pithoragarh, Munasyari, Shrinagar, and Garhwal, and memorandums submitted to the President. The dharna protests were attended by farmers in large numbers.
The AIKM Kheld a dharna at Karnal district HQ in Haryana which was addressed by AIKM VP Prem Singh Gehlawat.
Dharnas, protests, and meetings well attended by farmers were organized at Kakinada, Karnool, and Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, where acquisition of cultivable land has become a major issue.