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Farmers across India to stage protests on Friday

Farmers’ organisations from across the country will be observing a nationwide shutdown, what they call the Bharat Bandh, on September 25 against all 3 farm bills cleared by Parliament after the Opposition boycott of the Rajya Sabha. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), All India Farmers Union (AIFU), All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), All India Kisan Mahasangh (AIKM) have come on a common platform. Farmers’ organisations from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and other states are supporting the bandh. As many as 31 farmers’ organisations from Punjab of different persuasions have got together to fight the 3 farm bills.

The National Trade Unions Congress, the All India Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India United Trade Union Centre and Trade Union Coordination Centre have decided to extend support to the Bharat Bandh on September 25. BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) announced that it would undertake a Chakka Jam for at least three hours across Punjab.

The aggrieved farmers’ organizations are demanding amendments to the agriculture bills to provide a legal guarantee for a minimum support price (MSP). The Narendra Modi government has assured farmers that the legislations are in their interest and the MSP regime is not being dismantled. PM Modi called the passage of farm bills a watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture. PM also assured the farmers that the new farm bill is not against  Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, have been passed by both Houses of Parliament during the monsoon session and is waiting for President Kovind’s presidential assent to become law.

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The Opposition has protested against the bills both inside and outside Parliament. Last Sunday’s uproar in the Rajya Sabha led to the suspension of Congress MPs Rajeev Satav, Syed Nasir Hussain and Ripun Bora, Trinamool Congress MPs Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen, CPI(M) MPs KK Ragesh and Elamaram Kareem and AAP’s Sanjay Singh.

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