Govt Can’t Betray Us: Man Behind the 35,000 Marching Farmers
“It is a significant victory. The kind of fear that it has instilled in the minds of the government, it will make them think 100 times before going back on promises,” says Vijoo Krishnan, Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha.
Nearly 35,000 farmers walked a distance of 180 kms, on foot, from Nashik to Mumbai to get the attention of the government. Enduring extreme pain and suffering, the farmers walked for 6 days in the blistering heat.
The Quint spoke to Vijoo Krishnan, Joint Secretary of AIKS, the organisation that spearheaded the march and mobilised the farmers across the state of Maharsahtra.
The Maharashtra government has vowed to meet the demands of the farmers, but Krishnan says they will have to remain vigilant. “On any future day when they are again seen as going back, I think we need to be prepared for a bigger movement against that,” added Krishnan.
The farmers have been demanding a complete waiver of loans, forest rights, and implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission that asserts the farmers should be paid one-and-a-half times more than the cost of production from the government.
The sufferings of these people are on a day-to-day basis, greater than one can begin to image. Vijoo Krishnan is of the view that if the government sticks to the agreement, the implementation will bring about a change in the fortunes of the farmers in the coming days.
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Krishnan points out that the protest is against both the BJP and Congress because they have both implemented policies which have led to farmers’ present crisis.
Starting with Congress in 1991, the neo-liberal economic policies were implemented and in 1992 the Congress came with the new agriculture policy. Almost immediately, we pointed out that it will led to the peril of the farmers in our country. But these governments have been following, whether it is the BJP or the Congress, the same policies.Vijoo Krishnan, Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha
Now, even though the government has agreed to fulfill the demands that were put forward by the farmers, only time will tell if this agreement will bring peace or whether it’s the calm before the storm.