Vol. XLIII No. 11 March 17, 2019

First Death Anniversary of Kisans of Mandsaur

Badal Saroj

THE first death anniversary of the six kisans who were shot dead in Mandsaur was observed by the BJP government and the kisan organisations in their own way.

The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government turned the state into a fortress of police, fearing the fury and anger of the kisans. For a week, the print and visual media in the state was flooded with false achievements and promises of the government. The kisan organisations as part of the all India protest call, held a demonstration in Mandsaur. The more than 125 organisations’ coordination committee of the kisans held a public meeting on June 5 in village Buda. Before the dawn on June 6, the national leaders of the kisan movement had begun a fast in front of the statue of martyr Kanahiya Lal Patidaar in Piplaya village.

On the call of AIKS Madhya Pradesh unit and other kisan organizations, one day strike began in the mandis (grain markets).

After the Mandsaur firing, the entire year has been the year of artifice and betrayal. After this firing and death of kisans, last year, the chief minister had kept a fast and shed crocodile tears. Lots of money was spent on this event. However after a year nothing has happened, not even a single demand has been accepted.

The demands of the kisans that were accepted but not fulfilled included: every grain of the kisans to be bought on the minimum support price (MSP); those who buy on lesser price to be put behind the bars; debt waiver and a commission to be set up to enquire into firing that led to the death of kisans.

Just one demand was accepted and that was the formation of the commission. However there is no scope of getting the report of this commission in the near future.

The kisans had turned the roads red by throwing tomatoes as they were getting a price of just 50 paise per kilo. Similarly onion, ladyfingers and potatoes prices crashed and the kisans were forced to throw them on the roads.

Even this year the prices of two main crops fell. The MSP for mustard oil was announced at Rs 4,050 per quintal; however the price that the kisans got is not more than Rs 3,200 per quintal. Similarly for wheat an MSP of Rs 1,735 per quintal was announced. The kisans were also supposed to get a bonus of Rs 265 per quintal.  However 75 per cent of kisans sold it for Rs 1,500 per quintal. Some of the farmers who sold it to the government agencies have not got the money and thousands of crores of rupees is due to the farmers.  

The BJP has the ability to find new methods of corruption. There is a famous ‘price-difference’ scheme in MP.  In Morena, some of the agents and middlemen sold 40 thousand quintals of black gram and chick pea gram and cheques were distributed in a function whereas, the reality is that in the entire region both these pulses are not grown.

Before June 6, the death anniversary of the martyrs, the government did almost everything except accepting the demands of the kisans. 350 new vehicles were booked, 36,000 batons, 6,000 new sticks and in the entire state, section 144 was either implicitly or explicitly promulgated. The mass wall writing of slogans of the kisan movement was removed through the government machinery. The government thought that the storm of the kisans will just pass away.

However the mass meeting in Buda on the evening of June 5, and the hunger strike on June 6 has belied the hopes of the government. The signs of a bigger storm in the offing could be witnessed by the strike in the mandis. Those who attended these meetings and hunger strike include, B N Singh and Yogender Yadav from the All India Kisan Sangarsh Samiti, P Krishnaprasad from the AIKS, Jaswinder Singh, state secretary of CPI(M), Atul Anjan from CPI, Dr Sunilam from the Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti.