Red carpet for national and international corporate honchos, iron fist at farmers?
While the Government of Gujarat is splurging on the jamboree called Vibrant Gujarat it is a crime to raise the issue of farmers’ suicides and low cotton prices. The totally non-political ‘Sanyukta Khedut Sangharsh Samiti’ had planned to make a peaceful representation before Gujarat Government on 11th Januaray, 2015. Farmers were setting out for the Action spot in their thousands. In a wanton display of its paranoia as well as dictatorial tendencies the Government first tried to scare away bus and other transporters. They attempted to force them to cancel farmers’ bookings. Farmers demonstrated their resolve by finding other means to reach the appointed spot. Thousands of farmers are being detained in tens of places across Gujarat. First, Mr Shivlal Vekaria (ex-MP) and Chandulal Shingala were detained in Rajkot. Hundreds of farmers started being detained in various districts. In the dead of the night – around 12.30 am – Sagar Rabari and Lakhan Musafir were arrested. Other prominent farmers being detained include Mansukhbhai (Rajkot), Pradyumansinh and Ramdevsinh Chudasma (Dholera), Mahendrasinh Karmariya, Nipul Patel, Yakub Gurji (Bharuch), Lalji Desai (Becharaji-Mandal). The Mansa MLA Mr. Amitbhai, Dehgam MLA Kaminiben and Jashubhai Rana of Gandhinagar have also been arrested.
The farmers’ demands were simple and basic.
1) Support Price for Cotton at 1200 / 20 kg, and Rs. 1000 / 20 kg for groundnut.
2) No de-commanding of Narmada waters and diverting it to industries.
3) Repeal of draconian anti-farmer laws such as Special Invest Region Act, and Gujarat Irrigation Act.
4) Immediate withdrawal of the Ordinance making the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Act meaningless.
It has become the standard practice for the Government of Gujarat to clamp down on demands of the poor and toiling people of Gujarat rather than addressing. This Government believes in ruling via Ordinances on the one hand, and organising public relations jamboorees – all at Tax Payers’ expense.
SARKAR HAMSE DARTI HAI POLICE KO AAGE KARTI HAI
Persis Ginwala, Rajni Dave, Anand Mazgaonkar