1363007 Skm.png

New Delhi: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers’ unions, has announced that it will escalate its agitation in the coming days, as farmers and their supporters observed a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Friday. The SKM said that its Punjab unit will convene a meeting on February 18 at Jalandhar, followed by the meetings of the NCC and the general body at New Delhi, to review the situation and plan the next steps. The SKM also issued a statement on the day of the bandh, accusing the Union government of “spoiling the atmosphere on farmers’ issues” by reneging on its promises made when the 2020-21 sit-in protest at Delhi borders concluded.

“The SKM has decided to intensify the agitation immediately and it will be done with multiple calls for massive actions in coordination with workers and all other sections of the people,” the SKM said in the statement. “The Narendra Modi government has intentionally spoiled the atmosphere on farmers’ issues and deceived people into believing that he is honest and sincere,” it said.

The SKM referred to the “promises” made by the government, which included a committee to consider giving a legal status to MSP and other demands in December 2021. However, seven months later, they formed a committee with those who were openly against giving MSP, and added crop diversification and zero budget natural farming to its agenda, the SKM alleged.

“Instead of holding genuine talks, they are making a mockery of negotiations by sending ministers to the protesters at Shambhu to dupe the people and keeping the points and progress in the discussion ‘secret’, thus keeping the farmers of the entire country in the dark,” it further alleged.

The SKM said that the bandh on Friday showed the “anger of the people against the brutal repression” by the Modi government and the BJP-led state government of Haryana on the farmers at Punjab’s Shambhu border. “The farmers’ anger against the corporate and communal policies of the Narendra Modi government has erupted today with their massive participation in the Grameen Bharat Bandh,” it said.

The SKM also claimed that it was one of the biggest-ever mass actions of the people in independent India, which helped bring back the issue of people’s livelihood on the national agenda just before the upcoming general elections.

“While the protest in Punjab turned into a near-total bandh, in all other states and Union Territories, villages saw shops, industries, markets, educational institutions and government offices shut down. Huge demonstrations and protest rallies were organised, in which lakhs of people took part with enthusiasm,” it further claimed.