Thursday, May 30, 2024

Only last year, Kisan Unions had supported what Modi has wrought now

It’s the irony of our times, and the complete lack of ethics on the part of farmer leaders and Unions, that what they are protesting about and supporting the call of farmers for Bharat Bandh of Tuesday, they had actually supported it what has now been implemented by the Centre.

In the past, farmer unions had backed the Centre’s directions to the Punjab government for endung arhtiya system, that is the one of middlemen. These unions had favoured payment of the money directly to farmers without any middlemen involved in the process.

The unions which had supported this direction included Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ughrana), Krantikari Kisan Union, Punjab, Bharatiya Kisan Union Dakaunda, BKU (Krantikari), Kirti Kidan Union, Kisan Sangharsh Committee and Azad Sangharsh Committee. Darshan Pal of the Krantikari Kisan Union, one of the leaders of the protesting farmers had said that “arhtiyas were parasites who should be called money lenders instead of commission agents”.

He had argued that the system of credit arhtiyas have evolved should be made “more transparent”. He had also said that like bank passbooks, all records of borrowed money should be kept. Darshan’s argument was that instead of splurging money on arhtiyas, these funds should be spent on development of the villages.

Speaking on the issue, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) Sukhdev Singh Kokri had urged the government to “bring a law to control money lenders”. He had also urged the Congress government of Captain Amarinder Singh to fulfill its pre-poll promise of writing off loans of farmers which they owed to moneylenders.

But today, the kisan leaders are singing a different tune. It makes one wonder if it’s really farmers’ welfare or a hidden agenda which is at work in the present impasse.

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