New Delhi: The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the farmers wing of the CPI-M, has announced a ‘rail roko’ agitation in Maharashtra on June 13, while continuing its demand to rollback the central government’s “anti-farmer” cattle trade notification.
The members of the farmers wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and other activists addressed a gathering of farmers at Jantar Mantar here, pointing out the consequences the notification is going to have on the farmers’ lives.
“The notification is anti-farmer. Thousands of farmers stand to lose their livelihood. This government is retracting on all its promises one by one. We will continue our struggle and launch a ‘rail roko sadak roko’ agitation in Maharashtra on June 13, ” said Hannan Mollah, General Secretary, AIKS.
The agitation would be joined by independent farmers and other like-minded groups.
Several other civil society members also voiced their concern saying the move would affect women as well.
“Women have been the primary caretakers of the cattle in any farming community. The notification will spell loss of livelihood for them. This is democracy. The government cannot impose such decisions on us,” Mariyam Dhawle, General Secretary, All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA), said.
She continued denouncing the government saying that the latter has not even implemented the Swaminathan Report recommendations which had suggested a Minimum Support Price (MSP) including an additional 50 per cent over and above the total expenses incurred on farming.
“The central government has retracted all its promises. Look what happened in Madhya Pradesh, in Punjab and sometime back in Tamil Nadu,” she added.
Another women’s rights activist underlined the pro-corporate aspect of the notification.
“The notification fulfils two agenda. It will wipe out all competition from the small time farmers in cattle trading, giving a boost to industrial meat exporters. Secondly, it will bring the Muslim and Dalit community to their knees since by and large, the majority of cattle traders are from these communities,” Annie Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), said.
She said the “notification commensurates with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s aim of making India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ by 2025”.
The notification was brought on May 23 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017, banning cattle trading in markets for slaughtering. It, however, allows farmers to trade from their farms and houses.
The notification has since been challenged and a hearing is slated in the Supreme Court on June 15 on its constitutionality.