The CPI(ML) condemns the government of Madhya Pradesh for killing five agitating farmers and injuring many in Mandsaur district on 6 June 2017. The farmers are agitating in all parts of the country and they are on a historical strike in MP and Maharashtra for the last one week demanding loan waivers and minimum support price that ensures 50 percent profit margin above costs. It is criminal on the part of the MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and his ministers to deny that security forces have fired on the farmers and instead blame it on ‘anti-social’ elements, while local officials have clearly stated that the firing was done by forces. Such lies and deceitful statements are quite characteristic of the RSS school of propaganda. Equally condemnable are the repressive measures adopted by the MP government which included imposition of curfew in Mandsaur and a ban on internet and social media in many parts of the state.
The repression on striking farmers was preceded by the BJP establishment’s obstinate undermining of farmers’ demands arising out of the deep agrarian crisis. Instead the BJP tried to divide the united farmers’ agitation in two states by roping in the RSS-backed farmers’ organisation against the striking farmers’ organisations. But farmers continued with the strike despite the MP and Maharashtra chief ministers’ announcements that a compromise formula had been achieved and the strikes called off. Even the statements by BJP central leaders, lamenting about ‘some people trying to break the unity of farmers’ by not calling off strike, went in vain. The BJP Government’s repressive measures killing farmers are not going to contain the increasing wrath of country’s farmers.
The CPI(ML) expresses support and solidarity for the striking farmers who have been demanding minimum support prices, farm loan waiver and implementation of Swaminathan Committee report. Maharashtra has been one of the worst hit by agrarian distress and farmers’ suicides caused by pro-corporate and anti-farmer agricultural policies. Madhya Pradesh farmers, in spite of good crop yields in last few seasons, have been forced to sell their produce at far below input costs.
A universal loan waiver is the minimum measure that a Government can take to relieve farmers’ distress somewhat. But Central and State governments that waive billions of worth of corporate loans and taxes every year refuse to do so for the country’s farmers. It is high time the Central and state governments made it a priority to accept all demands of striking farmers, alleviate farmers’ distress and waive all farm loans with immediate effect.