Although farmers in Himachal Pradesh have not been proactively agitating in the state against the controversial farm bills, which has led to a standoff between the government and 250 farmers’ unions, protests have erupted in solidarity.
It's the second time within the past three days that the protests and demonstrations were held at Shimla, Sirmaur, Hamirpur, Mandi, Chamba and Kullu districts. They were carrying placards and posters asking for withdrawal of all three farm bills.
All India Kisan Sabha leader Dr Kuldeep Tanwar said, “The farmers in Himachal Pradesh initially thought they were not so badly affected by the bills like those in the states of Punjab, Haryana, MP, UP and Rajasthan but now there is a realisation that their interests are not safe even if only three crops – wheat, rice and maize are grown in the state. Rice is still not covered under the MSP.”
But the state being the pioneer in the cultivation of the vegetables, fruits and other off-season vegetables also need protection. Peas, tomatoes, potatoes and ginger or other crops must also be brought under the MSP coverage, he demanded.
Tanwar said it’s the first time that such an awakening and non-political struggles by a dominant class --- known as “kisan” (farmers/peasants) have shaken the government and to ensure that the struggle meets its logical end, the farmers in Himachal Pradesh are supporting the cause.
Some groups of the farmers had also participated in the protests, which are currently being held on Delhi’s borders and if need be, more farmers will be going to join the protests.
Beside the farmers, some students’ organisations (mainly the Left-wing), NGOs, Mahila Shakti and other trade union groups have also joined the protests in the state being organised at the district level and soon to be held at the panchayat level.