Nineteen social organisations, women’s bodies and farmer groups in Himachal Pradesh on Friday issued a joint statement in solidarity with the three-month-long farmers’ agitation in the country.

Demanding that the three Central farm laws be repealed, the statement called for strengthening the minimum support price (MSP) system and extending it to different crops, especially the fruits and vegetables grown in the state.

The statement was critical of the ‘non-democratic’ manner in which the farm Bills were passed in the Parliament in a hurry in the middle of the Covid-induced lockdown.

The organisations, comprising the All India Democratic Women’s Association, the Bhumiheen Bhumi Adhikar Manch and the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, condemned the laws, saying they were designed to benefit the corporate houses.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2020 has the potential of destroying the government led-APMCs, they said.

The second law on contract farming puts the farmers in the dock by not just exposing them to risks when getting into contracts with companies, but also by closing the door of the courts for redressal for farmers.

In the third law — the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 — the corporates are allowed to buy, store and sell agri produce minus regulation and accountability of any sort. It also seeks to restrict the powers of the government with respect to production, supply and distribution of certain key commodities, the statement said.

They also condemned the manner in which the state and Central governments tried to ‘defame’ the peaceful protests using various tactics.

The repression of those coming out in support of the farmers’ movement, be it activists or journalists reporting on the developments, is utterly shameful and against the principles of democracy, the statement said.

The statement will be sent to the President of India, demanding repeal of the three farm laws.

–IANS

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