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Don’t consider our discipline and preference for dialogue as weakness: RSS farmers body tells government

A file photo of Bharatiya Kisan Sangha national general secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra.

A file photo of Bharatiya Kisan Sangha national general secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra. , Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) — a farmers’ body affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) — has condemned the violent protests by some farm unions who are demanding guaranteed minimum support prices (MSP), but it also rebuked the BJP-led Union government for not paying heed to the farmers’ pleas. The BKS warned the government that its nationalism, discipline, and preference for dialogue should not be mistaken as signs of weakness.

“When farmer organisations of the country come to Delhi in a disciplined and peaceful manner and present the problems and demands of the farmers to the right forums, the government does not consider it appropriate to talk to them. The attitude of the government is regrettable, which is why the possibility of violent agitation increases,” BKS general secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra told journalists on Saturday.

He added that the ‘politicisation’ of the farming community and their demands is adding to their woes.

‘Governments are least concerned about farmers’

The BKS statement comes against the backdrop of the thousands of farmers gathered at the Punjab and Haryana border, attempting to enter Delhi with their demands for a legal guarantee of MSPs for their produce. The agitation that started earlier has been marred by multiple deaths at protest sites allegedly caused by the actions of the police, who have used pellet guns, tear gas shells and Lathis in clashes with the protesting farmers.

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In December 2022, thousands of farmers under the aegis of the BKS had raised a demand for MSPs among others from Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. Announcing that non-violence was their choice but not a compulsion, they warned that the government would face trouble if their demands were not met. At a gathering of farmers from 560 districts of the country, the BKS declared that it was now evident that the governments, both at the States and the Centre, are least concerned for farmers.

Remunerative prices needed

Speaking about the resolutions passed after a two day annual meeting of BKS office bearers in Ajmer, Mr. Mishra said that farmers should get remunerative prices on the basis of their input costs, adding that GST on agricultural inputs should be abolished.

“We demand that there should be a substantial increase in the Kisan Samman Nidhi given by the government. Also, genetically modified (GM) seeds should not be allowed in the market,” Mr. Mishra said, adding that seeds are the right of farmers and governments should make arrangements to stop the exploitation of farmers in the marketplace. The BKS resolutions also called for a comprehensive policy for the marketing of grains.

The BKS statements on farmers demands for guaranteed MSPs, however, run contrary to the tone of an editorial in the Organiser, an English mouthpiece of the RSS, the BKS’ parent body. The editorial had claimed that massive mobilisation and blockade of roads is being done by farmers with “unreasonable” demands, such as legal guarantees for MSPs for all crops, loan waivers, and pensions for all farmers.

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