No SC/ST Owned Land To Be Touched: K’Taka CM Amid Farmer Protests
CM BS Yediyurappa called for the withdrawal of protests as he defended his government’s stance on Monday.
Reacting to the wide-scale demonstrations by farmers and Dalit groups on account of Monday’s statewide bandh against the recently passed contentious land reforms, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa called for the withdrawal of protests as he defended his government’s stance.
Trying to assuage the protesters, the CM said the interests of Dalits and tribals will be protected. “Even if you protest today, I ask you to come and discuss with us later. No irrigated land will be used for anything other than agriculture. No SC/ ST land will be touched.”
He added, “I tried convincing protesters but they had their heart set on satyagraha.” He called for the protests to be withdrawn and claimed that the government has taken these decisions keeping the best interests of farmers in mind.
The call by farmer organisations for a state-wide bandh on Monday saw protest marches across the state as many Dalit groups, labour unions and pro-Kannada outfits lent support to the farmers.
Defending the new APMC law, Yediyurappa said, “Farmers can sell their crop anywhere where they get a good price, this is complete freedom to sell anywhere and this is what I have fought for many years. There was a time, if farmers sold in other districts, there were cases against them.”
He added, “Farmers can also choose to sell in APMC too like earlier. That door is also not closed. It is a historic decision. I ask farmer friends to see how it goes for six months and I believe your issues in selling crops will be eased.”
On the new land reforms, Yediyurappa claimed that nobody will have the right to take lands of small farmers.
“Due to this amendment, anyone can do agriculture. Where there is no use of agriculture, the land can be used for other purposes and people will get jobs. Keeping this in mind we have brought these Acts. In the coming days, I request farmer groups to not confuse farmers. Farmers, I am with you. Don't encourage the protests,” the CM appealed.
As reported earlier, farmers, Dalits, labour organisations have been up in arms against three ordinances that the state government passed in the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the Karnataka Assembly despite staunch opposition. The three laws are Karnataka Land reforms (Amendment) 2020, Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) , 2020 and Industrial Disputes and certain other laws (Amendment) 2020.
Protesting farmers and opposition parties have said that the land reforms make it easier for land hoarding as it increases the ceiling for landownership and also removes the non-agricultural income bar on owning farmlands. On the APMC reforms, those opposing have said that it will leave farmers especially marginal vulnerable farmers at the mercy of the corporates in absence of a strong regulated market.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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