PIPLI (KURUKSHETRA): Several farmers’ unions from Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, including those associated with Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) held mahapanchayat under the banner of ‘MSP Dilao Kisan Bachao Andolan’ at a grain market in Pipli town of Kurukshetra district on Monday, to demand minimum support price (MSP) for sunflower seed.

Farmers' gathering in Pipli town of Kurukshetra district

Hundreds of farmers gathered at the grain market in Pipli, where leaders of several farm unions addressed them on the issue of MSP and raised slogans against Manohar Lal Khattar and Dushyant Singh Chautala-led Haryana coalition government.

Farmers' gathering in Pipli town

The farmers also raised the issue of the arrest of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Charuni national president Gurnam Singh Charuni and eight other workers of his union and demanded their release.
Among those who addressed the farmers included Balbir Singh Rajewal, Rakesh Tikait, Sarvan Singh Pandher, Manjit Singh Rai, Surjit Singh Phul, Jagdeep Singh Aulakh, Surjit Singh Koth, Sukhwinder Singh Longowal, Amarjit Singh Mohri, Abhimanyu Kohar, and others. Olympian wrestler Bajrang Punia also reached the rally to offer his support to the demand of farmers and addressed.
During the rally, the farmers gave an ultimatum to the Haryana government to hold talks with them before 2pm. Following this, on receiving a message from the administration, a local committee of BKU Charuni went to hold talks with Kurukshetra deputy commissioner (DC).
Two rounds of dialogues between farmers and state government officials remained inconclusive.
At about 2pm, after inconclusive talks, the farm leaders returned to the main stage of mahapanchayat to announce their decision, when they gave a call to block the National Highway (NH) 44 (GT Road) for an indefinite period of time.
After talks with the government, BKU Charuni Haryana state executive president Karam Singh Mathana announced the decision of mahapanchayat on the stage.
“The administration has held talks for two times but failed to give any firm assurance (of the MSP). The officials said they would arrange our talks with CM Sahib (Haryana chief minister) who is in Karnal. But when we went to follow up, the officials said the CM had left. The government is only passing the time,” Karam Singh said.
“We will fight with full dedication without worrying about cane-charging, arrests or jail.
The issue of MSP is very big. Today, they are breaking the MSP of sunflower, tomorrow; they will do the same with paddy and wheat. The decision on MSP from this mahapanchayat will write the destiny of farmers of the entire nation. No one should leave, whether it takes a week or 10 days until our demands are met. I request all to peacefully proceed towards NH 44 and nobody should take the law in their hands”, said Karam Singh while addressing the gathering.
About the meeting with farmers, Kurukshetra DC Shantanu Sharma said, “We held two rounds of talks with the farmers and told them that we are holding discussion with the CM Sir, who was busy in his program in Karnal. We sought more time for 30 minutes from the farmers, but they left the meeting and announced to block NH-44. The farmers have not blocked the NH-44 and we are holding talks with both the farmers and the government”.
Meanwhile, the traffic of NH-44 was diverted by Kurukshetra police from alternative routes.
Farmers’ leaders address
Addressing the farmers’ gathering BKU (Arajnaitik) spokesman Rakesh Tikait said, “The farmers raised their voice with the demand of MSP but they received lathis (canes). The farmers and unions decided to hold a maha panchayat at Pipli on June 12 and that whatever decision is taken from here will be implemented in the entire country. The gathering is on the question of MSP and that too not on a single crop but of MSP on all the crops in the nation. The governments announce the MSP, but procurement does not take place on the same. The farmers of the nation need the law guaranteeing the MSP. A big andolan (agitation) will take place on this issue and you cannot suppress it with lathis. Whatever decision is taken by the local committee in today’s rally, all the SKM people will support it.”
Tikait said our demand was that all the arrested farmers (Charuni and others) should be released and guarantee of procurement of crops on MSP should be ensured.
Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “The incident of lathi-charge on farmers at Shahabad has once again shaken the farmers of the entire country. We only demand that the government should bring law to guarantee procurement on MSP and if procured below that, it should be declared as an offence. The government will have to pay for each cane charged on Gurnam Singh Charuni and his associates. We will stand with the decision taken from here.”
Bajrang Punia said, “I understand this pain very well as I am also a son of a farmer. The farmers are demanding the minimum support price for their crops, nothing extra. I appeal to the government to give us the MSP of our crops. The government has failed to take action against Ajay Mishra Teni (Union MoS) in the case of an incident at UP (Lakhimpur Kheri). As we are now struggling against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the farmers had earlier fought against Ajay Mishra. The government did not take any action against both these people, which is uniting us. We do not know how to talk as so far we had done training to bring medals for the country. But after we see farmers on the roads, we feel pain. Therefore, I joined the farmers to offer support on behalf of all the players”.

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