December 6, 2022

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Farmers protest: Kejriwal demands compensation and an MSP guarantee

Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times

The Lakhimpur Kheri violence was sparked after a convoy of cars, one of which belonged to Mishra, mowed down protesting farmers.

Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi chief minister, demanded the Centre on Friday to pay families of farmers who died during the agitation against the three farm laws, provide a guarantee for Minimum Support Prices (MSP), drop proceedings against farmers, and fire union minister Ajay Mishra immediately.

Farmers, he added in the Delhi assembly, have revived people’s faith in democracy.

The Lakhimpur Kheri violence was sparked after a convoy of cars, one of which belonged to Mishra, mowed down protesting farmers. Kejriwal questioned the BJP-led Central government’s delay in dismissing Mishra, whose son has been arrested for his alleged role in the violence that claimed the lives of eight people. “The occurrence in Lakhimpur is really distressing… Why can’t the Centre get rid of him? I’m not sure what their motivation is, but the entire country wants him (Mishra) removed.”

On the first anniversary of the year-long farmers’ protest, the Delhi assembly passed a resolution demanding $1 million in compensation for the families of 700 farmers who died during the protest, the withdrawal of cases against farmers, guaranteed MSP, and action against Mishra during a special session on Friday.

Despite being labelled “anti-nationals” by BJP members, Kejriwal praised the farmers for their patience and peaceful demonstration. Farmers in poll-bound Punjab, where Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party emerged as a key force in the 2017 elections, were commended by Kejriwal for leading the protest.

“This is the longest farmers’ protest in the world. Over 700 farmers were martyred while fighting against their own government. The ruling party did not leave any chance to instigate them. They were called anti-nationals, Khalistanis, Pakistani agents, etc… But their peaceful protest destroyed the government’s ego,” said Kejriwal.

He said that the government was forced to remove the three farm legislation as a result of the peaceful demonstration. “This isn’t simply a triumph for farmers; it’s a victory for democracy.” People have begun to lose faith in the democratic system in recent years, ever since they (the BJP) came to office with a majority. “However, this has restored people’s faith in democracy,” Kejriwal remarked. He claimed that his government has opposed farm rules from the beginning and has always backed farmers. “To squash a movement, people are kept in stadiums.” During our Anna movement days, we stayed in stadiums. “We did not let our stadiums to be used as prisons,” Kejriwal remarked.

Kejriwal took potshots at BJP officials, claiming that both the implementation of the farm regulations and the announcement of their repeal were “masterstrokes.”

The Centre has decided to repeal the law, according to environment minister Gopal Rai, who moved the resolution in the assembly. “However, the legislation were drafted and approved without any input from farmers.” It is detrimental to democracy. Even now, the government refuses to communicate with farmers.”

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