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Raging farmer protests


The farmers’ agitation that has been going on for weeks in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, has on Tuesday taken a violent turn.

The national media haven’t taken sufficient notice of the protests. It’s not only the approach generally adopted by the urban-centered media outlets towards the issues faced by the farmers and their protests, but also the leanings of mainstream media towards the BJP which is in power in both the states, that’s the reason for this neglect of news. However, six persons killed when the police opened fire on the protesting farmers in Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, grabbed national attention (It should also be noted that despite the death of six people, the prominent national television channels refused to make it a subject of late night debate). The farmer agitations in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are perfect instances of the stark reality of the country’s rudimentary sectors like the agriculture and rural economy.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is hailed as the poster boy of BJP by the party. The pro-Sangh Parivar media usually projects Madhya Pradesh as a state like heaven. But according to the reports of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 1695 farmers have committed suicide in the state last year alone. The agricultural sector of the state is right now passing through a huge crisis. Farmers have been protesting for weeks by dumping vegetables and spilling milk on the road. With the firing on Tuesday, their rage have hit the peak. It might be realizing the consequences, that the government imposed curfew in districts like Ujjain, Ratlam and Neemuch besides Mandsaur and withdrew the internet facilities. Although the Maharashtra government has been attempting to defuse the protest by luring some of the farmer outfits with money and by creating splits among the protestors, the agitation is being continued aggressively. A strike organized by the farmer outfits was also noticed. Better prices for the agricultural produce and packages to overcome the losses incurred by drought are the main reasons for the protest. They have also urged the government to declare support price for agricultural produces, demanding a support price one and half times the amount of agricultural expenses.

Even while the authorities brag about development, reports from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra prove that things in the agricultural sector haven’t changed. The issues and the crisis in the agricultural sector are not something that started today or in recent past. Farmer suicides have become a norm at present in almost all states. It was only last month that farmers from Tamil Nadu held a prolonged protest in Jantar Mantar, Delhi. When the authorities ignored them, the protestors were compelled to go even to an extent of shedding their clothes. The Modi government that pledged Sabka Vikas (Development for All) is but displaying plain indifference in the case of farmers. Given the circumstances, the farmers’ fury as well as the situation seems to be going out of control in Madhya Pradesh.

The issues plaguing the agricultural and rural sectors are the actual crises of the country. But the Centre and the Sangh Parivar have been making efforts to split the people along communal lines by creating fissures in the name of cow nationalism. It’s not the cows and buffaloes but farming, food and water that are the real issues afflicting the nation. It’s the people who are unable to resolve the real crisis who are pushing the people further into a fabricated crisis. The farmers’ protests in Madhya Pradesh is therefore a warning for such persons. The people would continue to march ahead raising their voice despite the neglect of media.

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