Farmers' convention focuses on expanding protest movement across India
The first day of an all-India convention of farmers that began at the Singhu border here on Thursday focussed on expanding the protest against three agriculture laws of the Centre all over the country.
The two-day convention that marks the completion of nine months of the farmers' agitation against the three contentious laws was inaugurated by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait.
"It is sad that even after nine months, the government is still not ready for talks (with the farmers). But we should not feel demotivated. During this convention, we will reflect on what we have lost and what we have gained over the last nine months," Tikait said.
Delegates from 22 states representing 300 farmer and agricultural workers' unions and associations, 18 all-India trade unions, nine women's organisations and 17 student and youth organisations are participating in the convention.
According to a statement issued by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), three sessions were organised on the first day of the convention -- one on the three farm laws, one dedicated to industrial workers and another pertaining to agricultural workers, the rural poor and tribal issues.
"In all the three sessions, the speakers emphatically gave their suggestions for widening and expanding the movement involving farmers, workers, agricultural workers, adivasis and common people, thus widening the scope of the 'kisan andolan' so that it becomes a pan-India movement.
"Ashish Mittal, convenor of the organising committee of the convention, placed the draft resolutions before the delegates, which called upon people to intensify and expand the ongoing struggle across the country so that the (Narendra) Modi government be forced to repeal the three anti-farm laws and give a legal guarantee on MSP," the statement said.
Each session saw 15 speakers deliberating on a range of issues emphasising on the "deep transformations" that the farmers' movement has brought about and the "many positive outcomes" already being experienced due to the prolonged protest, it added.
The convention also paid homage to the farmers who lost their lives while participating in the agitation.
The event comes after nine months of persistent protests by farmers from across the country, who have been camping at Delhi's borders since November last year and agitating against the three farm laws that they claim will do away with the MSP system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.
Over 10 rounds of talks with the government, which has been projecting the laws as major agriculture reforms, have failed to break the deadlock between the two sides.