The incidents of the Shaheen Bagh agitation are still fresh in the minds of the general public. Yet another situation is developing which may cause even greater damages to the public and private properties and the economy of the nation and also aggravate the already ongoing threat of the contagious pandemic COVID 19 effects. Seemingly legitimate protests started by a section of farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Western U. P mostly wheat and paddy growing farmers on the presumed reservations that the newly introduced farming reforms brought by the Central Government will pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the minimum support price and do away with mandis leaving them at the mercy of corporates. Their contention of the agitating farmers is that “the farmers cannot compromise on their constitutional right to life and livelihood and the government cannot snatch away such basic rights enshrined in the Constitution.” But they forgot that the same constitutional right is applicable to all law-abiding citizens of India. But the way the purported peaceful movement of the farmers agitation now being hijacked by the opposition political parties and other vested interest organisations, it is feared that same people who clamour to uphold the Fundamental Rights of the citizens now threatened to violate the Fundamental Duties of the Citizens enshrined in the Constitution particularly Article 51-A (i) especially viewed in the background of the so called protest carried out by a certain section of misguided anti India Punjabi Diaspora group of Members in Canada and Britain and some of the other western countries in favour of the ongoing agitation. The peacefully agitating farmers have already announced blockade of national capital and called for a Bharat Bandh inconveniencing public and vehicle movements to and from the capital and supported by opposition political parties and a section of a particular misguided Indian Diaspora in some of the western nations.
The Government has already initiated discussions with the agitating farmers and 5 rounds of talks have already been over and further talks are to take place immediately. The government has already shown that they remain committed to the farmers’ interest. Unfortunately, instead of discussing and solving the contentious matters of the farming reforms bills, the agitating farmers have now taken a vociferous and rigid stand that all the three bills are to be repealed which creates a serious apprehension as to the real purpose of the agitation which presently confines to mainly Punjab, Haryana and Western U. P and not an All-India Agitation. The standoff agitation over the farm laws is unfortunate because it was entirely avoidable. Fundamentally there is no difference in the objectives of the bills between the government and the agitating farmers because the purpose of the bill is to increase the income of the farmers and for the farm-market interface to become more efficient. But the difference in the perception over how this can be done which needs to be sorted out and action should be initiated to address the problems commonly recognised as such by all stake holders. This calls for negotiated settlement and not through organised black mail by laying siege to national capital by garnering support of the political parties and fringe elements.
Farming Reforms are long felt need of the farming communities particularly the marginal farmers whose existence was already under threat and even this agitation also, if viewed dispassionately and without prejudice, shows that it is led by more affluent farmers and perhaps also by the intermediaries to perpetuate their own interests. Change is the only permanent thing and it is imperative that it has to take place and it has to be accepted by the farmers and their unions. The changes made through the three farm laws addressing the issues are eminent in many ways. While the government should stand firm on their commitment, they should communicate with the public and the farmers how the status quo would affect the farmers. At the same time the door to negotiated settlement should not be closed. Honest communication and sincerity of purpose if exhibited by both the sides will definitely lead to understanding the genuine grievances of the aggrieved sections of the farmers and the stand of the government. Once the farmers and the government understand the situations in the correct perspectives and accept the needs of the situations, it will lead to the solving the problems faced by both warring parties creating a win-win situation for the benefit of all farming communities and the citizens to augment the wealth of the nation contributing to boost the economy and GDP.
The opposition parties on their part must facilitate purposeful discussions between the farmers and the government to find an amicable solution to the problems and predicaments being faced. The opposition parties should desist from fishing in the troubled water to make political advantage at the cost of national interest. The need of the hour is for co-operation and not confrontation, for conciliation and not contestation, facilitation and not prevention to find out solutions. Let the opposition not oppose for the sake of opposing. The nation prays that good sense will prevail and an amicable settlement will be arrived at without repealing the laws to the joy of every citizen of this nation and that the peace and tranquillity will not be shattered on account of the Barat Bandh. JAI HIND.
(The author ‘T. R. Radhakrishnan’ invites comments from readers and can be contacted through his e-mail [email protected])
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