Tractor Rally

Conspiracy to crush Farmers' Movement

Harsh Thakor

Tragically a historic peaceful march in the Capital of over 20 lakh peasants has been foisted as a conspiracy against the nation. The sinister act of hoisting the Sikh religious flag on the Red Fort was undertaken allegedly by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) agent, Deep Sidhu. He infiltrated the ranks similar to Nazis masquerading as Communists in the burning of the Reichstag. The Kisan Sangarsh Commitee (KSC) and the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) seemed to have played into the hands of the rulers.

The marchers stuck to the plan and did not divert from the route. Disruptionist elements from KSC with Khalistani overtones violated the discipline and declared programme of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM)—the umbrella organisation of agitating unions—and started attacking the police barricade. If anything, one farmer succumbed to police attacks. Tremendous violence was unleashed with a cross of swords which was actually instigated by hoodlums hand in glove with the ruling party at the centre. The Social Media, however, distorted the picture accusing the participants of violating the norms set for the march. BKU (Ugrahan) secretary told this correspondent that this conduct was a complete aberration of the agenda planned with almost every participant adhering to the conditions agreed. The incident has virtually now given a licence to the ruling authorities to launch repression on the protesting farmers.

Leaders like BKU (Ugrahan) secretary Sukhdev Singh Khokri and Naujwan Bharat Sabha leader Rupinder Singh Chaunda confirmed this news. No doubt the social media played a sinister game by portraying the march as an act of anarchy or a plot against the state, going to the extent of even denying the event as a genuine farmers rally.

BKU (Ugrahan) state president Joginder Singh Ugrahan said that Republic Day protest march was successfully conducted in a disciplined manner. He said, 'protest marching on the streets of Delhi is a fundamental democratic right of the people and the Modi government is looking for an excuse to crush this right. People have every right to voice their dissent'. He maintained that anti-farm laws movement could not be allowed to be used for the purposes of creating a religion based state.

The just struggle of farmers has exposed the autocratic face of the Modi government, both nationally and internationally. In truth the message of tractor rally would have been more powerful if it was kept free from dubious elements. The flag hoisting on the Red Fort on January 26 by some Sikh religious fanatics has provided the government an opportunity to campaign against the movement. There should be strong efforts to keep the secular and democratic character of this struggle while removing pro-government people from the historic peasant upsurge.

The Modis are trying to apply the time tested British policy of divide and rule.

Strangely, some people on the far left are supporting the hoisting of the Sikh flag on the red fort. All genuine Marxists or communist revolutionaries should condemn such ideas.

Sadly an event that should have been written in golden letters in the history of India in exposing how fake the claims are of the nation being a genuine democracy is now being projected as an anti-national event. Morally, but for the disruption it should have been the greatest ever mass mobilisation in exposing the false pretensions of India being a genuine democracy.

The farmers have literally gushed or stormed into the capital of Delhi like a deluge or torrent appearing. A spark was literally turned into a Prairie fire. There could hardly be a better illustration of David taking on the Goliath. Majority of participants from Punjab came from the BKU (Ugrahan) ranks followed by that of the Kirti Kisan Union. Also notable was the big landless labour Dalit contingent participating under the banner of Zameen Prapt Sangarsh Commitee and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union.Countless preparatory rallies and meetings were held in Delhi and in Punjab. There is hardly an adjective to describe the level of intensity and discipline of the participants. In Delhi on January 26 a section of farmers entered into confrontation at the barricades and police threw tear gas. However in general the march was very peaceful right from the beginning. Great tactical maturity was shown, particularly by the BKU (Ugrahan) group in not compromising nor being over offensive or violent. The activists and junior leaders were watchful of not trespassing boundaries. Despite provocations from the police and their planted people the basic Unity has so far been preserved to sharpen the struggle. The farmers' platform in Delhi was used for marking many anti-imperialist events and commemorating heroic leaders of independence movement. Women's day was observed. Martyrdom of Ghadar party workers was remembered. Delhi residents witnessed 8 lakh tractors converging in the manner of a great naval fleet.

The Modi government is testing the patience of farmers. But farmers are struggling in bone chilling cold nights for months to get the agriculture laws repealed. Ten rounds of meetings have gone in which the government has insisted to form a sub-committee. The government is also knocking the doors of Supreme Court to delay things under the absurd pretext of suspending the laws for a year and a half but all the farmers of the country, under the leadership of the farmer's organisations, are determined to fight till the laws are withdrawn. Additionally, the farmers demand to make minimum support price (MSP) legal right for all the crops in all the states and to strengthen the universal public distribution system (PDS). The peasant leaders said that suspending the laws for a year or for a year and a half would cost the farmers dearly and the sword will keep hanging on them in the same way. It will be a situation of back to square one. As things are the struggle is unlikely to relent without repealing the laws, notwithstanding sabotage by government stooges.

[Harsh Thakor is an independent journalist covering movements all around the country, especially Punjab,]

Vol. 53, No. 32, Feb 7 - 13, 2021