What started as ‘farmers’ agitation to repeal laws that allowed them to sell their produce to whoever they wish to (d-uh) has now transformed into a circus where newly minted celebrity protestors have taken over the stage.
Punjab farmers, many of whom have been chanting pro-Khalistan chants, marched towards Delhi earlier this month to ‘hold talks’ with government. They want the government to repeal the newly passed farm laws. They have been carrying with them four months’ ration. They have been holding the national capital on ransom since past few days now. Some have even threatened to assassinate Prime Minister Modi because after all, they’ve killed Indira Gandhi, a ‘farmer’ said with pride.
Their bone of contention is the fact that government is getting rid of middlemen and allowing them to sell their produce to anyone. Having said that, to make sure they are not exploited, the current system of APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) and MSP (Minimum Selling Price) will continue. So, those farmers who do not wish to sell their produce anywhere, can continue doing so like existing system.
Central government has time and again clarified that they are not doing away with the MSP. However, for some reason, these agitating ‘farmers’ still insist that government should not do away with MSP. How can government not get rid of something they are not getting rid of?
This is exactly like the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests where people claimed that Indian Muslims will be asked to show their documents to prove citizenship. This, when government clarified multiple times that CAA has absolutely nothing to do with Indian citizens, irrespective of religion. CAA only fast-tracks Indian citizenship of persecuted religious minorities of three neighbouring Islamic countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Muslims from these countries can continue to seek Indian citizenship as per existing laws.
What was shocking even back then was the Dalit groups protesting against CAA. It should be noted here that majority of Hindus persecuted in Pakistan are Dalits. The Dalit groups in India do not want Dalits in Pakistan to come home and live a life of dignity.
And as if that was not enough, Aam Aadmi Party, Delhi’s ruling party, and Congress in Delhi got into a fight to call dibs on who is providing better facilities to these farmers.
Do keep in mind here that earlier this year, when the Chinese coronavirus pandemic was spreading at terrifying speed in India, Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government turned away migrants from other states. There were reports that water and power connection to the houses where migrants lived were cut off so they are forced to leave. Same Kejriwal who just few months back wanted to reserve Delhi government hospitals only for Delhi residents. So, if you are not a Delhi resident, you wouldn’t get treated for coronavirus in Delhi government hospital. That is what Kejriwal wanted. The LG, obviously, did not let that happen.
Arvind Kejriwal, the migrants are watching. Every single one of them whom you turned away.
And now, to add to this, the same celebrity protestors who had hijacked the anti-CAA ‘protests’ which also had same modus operandi of blocking roads and choking Delhi, are back into action.
Shaheen Bagh’s ‘dadi’ (grandmother) Bilkis Banu earlier this morning announced she is daughter of farmers and hence she will join the agitation. She has now been detained. Dalit group Bhim Army’s chief Chandrashekhar Azad, too, joined the protesting ‘farmers’. And not to mention the biggest celebrity – biryani which has also made an appearance at these farmers’ protests. Biryani was also served regularly at Shaheen Bagh ‘protests’.
Except, the anti-CAA ‘protests’ eventually ended with riots which claimed dozens of lives.
How will these ‘protests’ end?