Wednesday, February 28, 2018


The Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has taken a major decision to begin a ‘Long March’ on foot of over 50,000 peasants for a distance of nearly 200 Km from Nashik to Mumbai. Peasant women will also take part in this March in large numbers. It will begin from Nashik on March 6, 2018 and will culminate in Mumbai on March 12. Here the peasants will indefinitely gherao the state assembly which will then be in session, until their demands are met. This decision was taken in the extended meeting of the AIKS Maharashtra state council at Sangli on February 16, in which over 150 leading activists from 25 districts were present.

The Long March is being organised to denounce the BJP state government for consistently betraying all its assurances given to the peasantry during the last two years on issues like farm loan waiver, remunerative prices and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, stringent implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), temple lands and pasture lands to be vested in the names of the tillers, increase in various pension schemes to poor peasants and agricultural workers, issues connected to the public distribution system, compensation for losses sustained by peasants due to pest attacks and hailstorms, opposition to acquisition of peasants’ lands in the name of fancy and elitist projects like the bullet train and super highways, and a complete change in the river linking scheme proposed to be started in Nashik, Thane and Palghar districts, so as to ensure that tribal villages are not submerged and water is made available to these districts and to other drought-prone districts in Maharashtra.
The Long March will be led by AIKS President Dr Ashok Dhawale, former state president J P Gavit, MLA, state president Kisan Gujar, state general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale, state office bearers Savliram Pawar, Irfan Shaikh, Sunil Malusare, Subhash Choudhari, Barkya Mangat, Ratan Budhar, Radka Kalangda and others. SFI-DYFI state leaders will also join the March.
AIKS Joint Secretary Vijoo Krishnan will join the March from Nashik for the first three days from March 6 and AIKS General Secretary Hannan Mollah, CPI(M) state secretary Narasayya Adam, ex-MLA, CPI(M) central committee member Mahendra Singh and AIDWA General Secretary Mariam Dhawale will be present for the culmination in Mumbai on March 12.

Two years ago, on March 29-30, 2016, the AIKS had led an unprecedented one lakh strong peasant siege for two days and two nights at the central CBS square in the heart of Nashik, which had paralysed the city. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP had to invite the AIKS delegation to Mumbai in the midst of the assembly session and give some assurances.
Since these were not fulfilled, the AIKS led a 10,000-strong novel ‘Coffin March’ in Thane city in May 2016 to focus on the issue of peasant suicides, that was addressed by the then AIKS President Amra Ram. This rally was held along with the AIKS state conference held at Talasari in Palghar district that was addressed by AIKS General Secretary Hannan Mollah.
In October 2016, over 50,000 Adivasi peasants, women, youth and students under the leadership of the AIKS, AARM, AIDWA, DYFI and SFI gheraoed the house of the state Adivasi Development Minister at Wada in Palghar district, again for two days and two nights, and wrested written assurances on issues like FRA and malnutrition-related deaths of Adivasi children. AIKS Joint Secretary Vijoo Krishnan participated in this struggle.
Other impressive actions by the AIKS on the issues of drought, loan waiver and remunerative prices were organised at Aurangabad in the Marathwada region in May 2016 and at Khamgaon in the Vidarbha region in May 2017.
All these independent struggles over two years put the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha for the first time in the mainstream of the peasant movement in the state and helped it to become a key constituent of the united peasant struggle that began in June 2017.    
In the historic united Peasant Strike that lasted for 11 days from June 1 to 11, 2017, the AIKS played a crucial role. AIKS state general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale was elected Convenor of the Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Organisations. On June 11, a group of five Ministers of the state government were forced to hold talks with the Coordination Committee and they publicly agreed to give a complete loan waiver to the peasantry. But within a fortnight, although it announced a deceptive loan waiver package of Rs 34,000 crore, it betrayed its promise of a complete loan waiver and imposed several onerous conditions that would leave a great majority of farmers out of the loan waiver orbit.
Massive joint agitations were held against this betrayal, including a united campaign tour of 15 large district conventions in July that mobilised over 40,000 farmers and a statewide Chakka Jaam (Road Blockade) on August 14 in which over two lakh farmers blocked national and state highways at over 200 centres in 31 districts of the state. The AIKS participation in this joint Road Blockade action was the largest - over 85,000.
By a conscious decision, all the above independent and united struggles by the AIKS were peaceful and disciplined. Throughout the campaign for all these struggles, apart from concentrating fire on the BJP-Shiv Sena state government, the BJP-led central government of Narendra Modi was also severely castigated for its anti-peasant, anti-people, pro-crony corporate and neo-liberal policies and its dangerous communal and casteist conspiracies.   

Now the AIKS has again decided to take up cudgels independently against the betrayal of the BJP state government on all the above counts, and hence this decision of the Long March and the Assembly Gherao.
Hectic preparations are on all over the state to make this action a success. A press conference was held in Mumbai on February 21 where the ensuing struggle was announced. It was addressed by Dr Ashok Dhawale, J P Gavit, MLA, Narasayya Adam, ex-MLA, Kisan Gujar and Dr Ajit Nawale.  Similar press meets will be held in several districts, with the last one in Nashik, from where the Long March will begin, on March 2.
Thousands of leaflets are being printed in each district, the draft of which has been sent by the AIKS state centre. Extended meetings of the AIKS district councils have been held and hundreds of village meetings are being organised to mobilise peasants in large numbers for the coming struggle. Special efforts are being made to ensure good coverage to it both in the mainstream media and in the social media.
All in all, this will be another major mass struggle led by the AIKS in Maharashtra in defence of the peasantry and against the RSS-BJP regime.

-Kisan Gujar & Ajit Nawale


The fighting peasantry of Rajasthan under the banner of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) last week emerged victorious after yet another battle, this time against the dastardly repression of the BJP state government. The Rajasthan Kisan Sabha had given a clarion call for a massive March to Jaipur (Jaipur Kooch) on February 22, 2018, to protest against the betrayal of the assurances of loan waiver, remunerative prices and pension made to the peasantry after the historic 13-day state-wide struggle from September 1-13, 2017.
To propagate the Jaipur March, four main jathas on foot began from February 12 onwards from Nagaur, Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Kota. All of them began from places which had seen the martyrdom of peasants, workers and students. They were led by AIKS vice president Amra Ram, state president Pema Ram, state general secretary Chhaganlal Choudhary, state vice president Duli Chand Borda and others. Several other sub jathas covered over 5000 villages of Rajasthan on foot. All these jathas received encouraging response from the peasantry since discontent was already brewing among them against the betrayal by the BJP regime.

Alarmed at the response of the peasantry, and rattled by the recent huge BJP defeats in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha by-elections in Alwar, Ajmer and Mandalgarh, the BJP state government headed by Vasundhara Raje Scindia launched a cowardly campaign of repression. Two days before the Jaipur March, on February 20, it arrested AIKS leaders Amra Ram, Pema Ram, Hetram Beniwal, Sheopat Meghwal, Pawan Duggal and 165 others and remanded them to judicial custody. Apart from them, over 2000 peasant activists were detained in police stations across the state.
The AIKS leadership immediately responded by calling for burning the effigies of the authoritarian BJP chief minister in all districts, tehsils and villages in the state on February 21. This action met with tremendous response all over. A complete Bandh was held in Sikar that day, fully supported by shopkeepers and all other sections.      
From February 21, the government sealed the capital Jaipur and prevented peasants from entering it with the help of a massive police force. It also prevented farmers from moving out of their villages and tehsils by threatening the bus drivers with dire consequences. Not to be outdone, the farmers responded by blocking highways wherever they were stopped.
The CPI(M) and the AIKS at the national level strongly condemned the repression let loose by the BJP state government and called for the immediate release of all AIKS leaders and for the implementation of the September assurances given to the peasantry.
The CPI(M) statement said, “Bulldozing even the minimum democratic right to protest, the Raje Government has once again revealed its authoritarian character by using the police against the Kisan movement and arresting the leaders. This shows the desperation of a Government that is increasingly getting isolated from the people.”
The AIKS statement said, “The discredited BJP Government is only exposing its fear of the Kisan mobilisation by this act. Democratic protests cannot be stifled by repressive measures. We warn the BJP Government in Rajasthan that this move will be countered by massive mobilisation and the movement will go on until the anti-peasant, anti-worker and anti-poor Vasundhara Raje regime is defeated.”
On February 22, AIKS President Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Joint Secretary Dr Vijoo Krishnan rushed to Jaipur. In spite of the repression unleashed by the government, hundreds of farmers had gathered at the Kisan Mazdoor Bhavan there. They were addressed by leaders of the AIKS, CITU, AIAWU, AIDWA, SFI, DYFI and other organisations.
After this, AIKS central leaders Ashok Dhawale and Vijoo Krishnan, along with AIKS Rajasthan Treasurer Gurcharan Singh Mour and others went along the national highway to Sikar and addressed two large meetings of thousands of farmers who had been stopped by the police and had promptly blocked the highway at Tantiawas Toll Naka and at Reengus. In the evening they reached the historic spot of Ramu ka Baas junction near Sikar that had been the epicentre of the September Kisan struggle.
At Sikar the scene was just amazing! From 11 am in the morning, over 20,000 farmers from Sikar district, who had been stopped by the police from proceeding to Jaipur, had militantly but peacefully blocked both sides of the national highway. They included hundreds of women farmers in their traditional red chunaris. There were also thousands of angry peasant youth and students. The entire area had turned into a massive public meeting that had continued the whole day, interspersed with peasant songs and dances.
AIKS leaders denounced the BJP regime for its repression and also for its betrayal of its own assurances on loan waiver and pension. They also castigated the BJP-led Modi regime at the centre whose neo-liberal policies left the peasantry and all other sections of working people in the lurch, while shamelessly protecting the corruption of, and showering limitless benefits on its crony capitalists like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya, Gautam Adani, Anil Ambani and Mukesh Ambani.
They also gave a call to direct this peasant struggle towards a political transformation by defeating both the BJP and the Congress in the coming state assembly elections in Rajasthan and ensuring the victory of the left and democratic forces, of which the AIKS was an integral part. That was the only way in which the peasants and workers could truly wrest their rights.  
At Sikar the AIKS central and state leadership reviewed the situation and decided that unless the government unconditionally releases all the arrested leaders and activists: 1. The huge Mahapadav at Sikar would continue indefinitely; 2. The next day, February 23, there would be state-wide demonstrations outside all the district and tehsil headquarters; 3. On February 24, there would be a state-wide Chakka Jaam, i. e. road blockade.
Accordingly, the February 23 demonstrations were widely held by thousands of farmers all across the state. The state government had already come under intense fire from the media and from all democratic sections for its ham-handed repressive tactics. Under all this public pressure, on the night of February 23 it was forced to release all the AIKS leaders and activists. It was only after Amra Ram reached the Mahapadav at Sikar after midnight and addressed the huge gathering that the state-wide agitation was called off. Thousands of peasants had camped there from 11 am on February 22 up to 3 am on February 24!
Among the leaders of the Rajasthan AIKS who led this struggle from outside jail were Chhaganlal Choudhary, Sagar Khachariya, Balwan Puniya, Gurcharan Singh Mour, Sanjay Madhav and many others, while CPI(M) leaders Vasudev Sharma, Fulchand Barbar and many others rendered valuable fraternal support.

The peasantry in Rajasthan under the Kisan Sabha banner won a significant victory after their resolute struggle lasting 13 days. Since September 1, 2017, lakhs of farmers gheraoed the different district headquarters on the call of Rajasthan Kisan Sabha for a Mahapadav (sit-in). For three days there was also rasta roko (road blockade) across the state bringing about 20 districts to a standstill. Only ambulances and essential services functioned. The peasant movement received unprecedented support from all sections of society making it a truly people's movement. The insensitive BJP government led by Vasundhara Raje Scindia was forced to bow down and accept many of the demands of the peasantry after 13 days of struggle and talks with the Kisan Sabha leadership. The talks went on in four phases from 1:00 pm on September 12 and ended on September 14 at 1:00 am.
The BJP government was forced to agree to loan waiver of up to Rs 50,000 which was expected to benefit eight lakh farmers; assurance that state government will write to the centre seeking implementation of Swaminathan Commission Recommendations on MSP in a time-bound manner by working out modalities; purchase of groundnut, green gram (moong) and urad at MSP at all district headquarters within seven days; withdraw hike in electricity rates for drip irrigation; payment of SC/ST/OBC fellowship with arrears immediately; relaxation in restrictions in sale of cattle, protection of crops from stray cattle and wild animals; increase of pension to Rs 2,000 per month agreed in principle; insurance claim for failure of canal irrigation and stopping harassment of traders and farmers by the police.

Under the intense public pressure of the September struggle led by the AIKS, the state government was forced to take some steps in the next few months. However, it backtracked on its main promise of a loan waiver. The Rajasthan government in its recent Budget announced a one-time loan waiver up to Rs 50,000 for small and marginal farmers who had defaulted on short-term loans from cooperative banks. It announced a loan waiver amount of Rs 8,000 crore. The budget announcement covers waivers of only short-term loans from cooperatives and does not include long-term loans provided by cooperative banks for irrigation and other purposes. Aimed at overdue loans of small and marginal farmers at the cooperatives, the waiver isn’t meant for those farmers who are repaying the amount on time. Further, chief minister Vasundhara Raje immediately after the Budget also stated that there was no guarantee for the fulfilment of the Budget proposals!
Interestingly, short-term crop-based loans have a 90% recovery rate. According to data from the Rajasthan State Co-operative Bank Limited, the recovery percentage of the short-term loans in the past five financial years was 93.18%, 90.33%, 90.25%, 83.12% and 82.31% respectively. By this calculation, few farmers will be able to avail the loan waiver benefit.
If all the restrictions are imposed, then very few farmers will get the benefit of the loan waiver. The announcement has also restricted the agricultural land size to less than eight bighas (Bigha is measured differently in different states; in Rajasthan eight bighas is only around 3.2 acres, that is, a little over one hectare). This will leave out thousands of poor, marginal and middle farmers who are reeling under debt. The loan given by the cooperative banks to farmers with less than eight bighas of land is already very little. Thus, farmers feel that the budget loan waiver is yet another jumla of the BJP government.
As regards increased pension of Rs 2,000 to poor peasants and agricultural workers, nothing at all has been done by the government. Many other assurances remain unimplemented.

On February 27, 2018, the AIKS Rajasthan state council met, briefly reviewed the February struggle and decided on the future plan of action. This was announced in a press conference at Jaipur the same evening by Amra Ram, Pema Ram and Chhaganlal Choudhary.
After denouncing the repression let loose by the BJP state government and describing it as a feudal and authoritarian assault on democracy itself, the AIKS leaders warmly congratulated the peasants, workers, agricultural labourers, women, youth, students, traders and all other sections that had courageously participated in the struggle and had supported it.
Announcing the future plan of struggle, they declared that just as the state government had prevented farmers from entering their capital Jaipur, so also would farmers now prevent Ministers from entering their towns and villages. On March 8, when prime minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Jhunjhunu, an AIKS delegation of farmers from the Shekhawati region – Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu districts – would submit a memorandum to him outlining the betrayal of assurances by the state government led by his own party. The same day, similar memoranda addressed to the prime minister would be submitted by the AIKS in all district and tehsil headquarters.
On International Workers’ Day, May 1, peasants in Rajasthan would gather in thousands and close down all the district collectorates. They would also hold state-wide demonstrations in the mandis (agricultural markets) to demand remunerative prices for their produce.
Finally, a widespread and concerted state-wide campaign would be launched in every village to force the government to implement the September 13 agreement and to expose the callous anti-peasant BJP regime and turn public opinion irrevocably against it, so as to ensure its defeat in the coming assembly elections and bring forth a left democratic alternative in Rajasthan.

-Ashok Dhawale

Thursday, February 22, 2018

AIKS Condemns the Arrest of Kisan Sabha Leaders in Rajasthan

AIKS Leaders Amra Ram, Hetram Beniwal, Sheopat Meghwal and Others Arrested

Repression Cannot Deter Kisan Mahapadav; The Protest Will Go On!!

All India Kisan Sabha condemns the repression unleashed by the Vasundhara Raje led BJP Government in Rajasthan on the peasant movement in the State and the arrest of AIKS Vice President Com.Amra Ram, veteran leader Com.Hetram Beniwal, Com.Shyopat Meghwal and many others. Arrests are being reported from different parts of the State. AIKS demands the immediate release of all arrested leaders and activists. The discredited BJP Government is only exposing its fear of the Kisan mobilisation by this act. Democratic protests cannot be stifled by repressive measures. We warn the BJP Government in Rajasthan that this move will be countered by massive mobilisation and the movement will go on until the anti-peasant, anti-worker and anti-poor Vasundhara Raje regime is defeated.

It is to be noted that the BJP Government after the historic struggle of the peasantry under the leadership of the Kisan Sabha was forced to agree upon all the demands including loan waiver and remunerative prices, procurement, pension and other matters. However, the BJP Government went back on the agreement and betrayed the peasantry. Against the betrayal the Kisan Sabha has been amidst the peasantry mobilising for an indefinite Mahapadav at Jaipur from 22nd February, 2018 onwards. Kisans from across the State were marching towards Jaipur and the paranoid BJP Government has resorted to the cowardly move of arresting the AIKS leaders and Kisans. However, thousands of Kisans are on the move and will reach Jaipur on 22nd February defying threats and intimidation from the BJP Government and RSS goons. Kisan Sabha is an organisation that has emerged through struggles and advanced despite all kinds of attacks and repression. Such attacks and arrests are not going to deter us from struggles. Our struggle on genuine demands of the peasantry shall continue come what may. AIKS President Ashok Dhawale and Joint Secretary Vijoo Krishnan will take part in the Mahapadav in solidarity with the Kisans and agricultural workers of Rajasthan.

Signed :-
Ashok Dhawale, President
Hannan Mollah, General Secretary

February 20, 2018

६ मार्च रोजी एक लाख शेतकऱ्यांचा नाशिक ते मुंबई लॉंग मार्च

६ मार्च रोजी एक लाख शेतकऱ्यांचा नाशिक ते मुंबई लॉंग मार्च

विधान भवनाला बेमुदत घेराव !

किसान सभेची आरपार लढ्याची घोषणा !

सरकारी धोरणे व नैसर्गिक आपत्तींमुळे शेतकरी हतबल झाले आहेत. खचून जाऊन आत्महत्या करत आहेत. शेतकऱ्यांवर कोसळलेल्या या संकटाच्या काळात सरकार मात्र शेतकऱ्यांच्या मागे उभे राहण्याऐवजी फसव्या घोषणा करत आहे. सरकारच्या या फसवणुकीमुळे शेतकरी आणखी खचले आहेत. कर्जमाफीच्या घोषणेनंतरही आत्महत्या करत आहेत. कर्जमाफीच्या घोषणेनंतर राज्यात तब्बल १७५३ शेतकऱ्यांनी आत्महत्या केल्या आहेत. किसान सभेने या पार्श्वभूमीवर शेतकऱ्यांच्या प्रश्नांसाठी पुन्हा एकदा आरपार लढा करण्याचा निर्णय घेतला आहे.

लढ्याच्या पहिल्या टप्प्यात किसान सभेच्या नेतृत्वाखाली विधानसभा अधिवेशन काळात राज्यभरातून एक लाख शेतकरी नाशिक येथून मुंबई विधानसभेवर पायी चालत येत लॉंग मार्च काढणार आहेत. दिनांक ६ मार्च २०१८ रोजी या लॉंग मार्चची सुरुवात होणार आहे. नाशिक येथून मुंबई पर्यंत पायी चालत आलेले हे शेतकरी अधिवेशन सुरू असताना विधानसभेला बेमुदत महाघेराव घालणार आहेत. मागण्या मान्य होईपर्यंत हा बेमुदत घेराव सुरू राहणार आहे.

किसान सभेने मार्च २०१६ मध्ये नाशिक येथे एक लाख शेतकऱ्यांचा महामुक्काम सत्याग्रह केला होता. नाशिक येथील सी.बी.एस. चौकात राज्यभरातील एक लाख शेतकऱ्यांनी दोन दिवस केलेल्या या महामुक्काम सत्याग्रहाने शेतकऱ्यांचे प्रश्न दोन वर्षापूर्वी सरकारसमोर मांडले होते. महामुक्कामाच्या पार्श्वभूमीवर मुख्यमंत्री देवेंद्र फडणवीस यांनी शेतकऱ्यांच्या मागण्या मान्य केल्या होत्या. १ जून २०१७च्या शेतकरी संपाच्या पार्श्वभूमीवरही सरकारने या मागण्या पूर्ण करण्याची घोषणा केली होती. प्रत्यक्षात मात्र सरकारने या मागण्या पूर्ण केल्या नाहीत. उलट शेतकऱ्यांची वारंवार अत्यंत जीवघेणी फसवणूक केली आहे. किसान सभेने या पार्श्वभूमीवर नाशिकच्या याच सी.बी.एस. चौकात पुन्हा एकदा एक लाख शेतकऱ्यांना एकत्र करत विधान भवनावर चालत जाण्याचा संकल्प केला आहे. दिनांक ६ मार्च रोजी राज्यभरातील एक लाख शेतकरी नाशिक येथून चालत मुंबईकडे निघणार आहेत. शेतकऱ्यांचा हा लॉंग मार्च मुंबई येथे पोहचल्यानंतर विधानभवनाला घेराव घालणार आहे. मागण्या धसास लागल्याशिवाय हा घेराव मागे घेतला जाणार नाही.

कसत असलेल्या वनजमिनी शेतकऱ्यांच्या नावे करा, कष्टकरी शेतकऱ्यांना विनाअट संपूर्ण कर्जमुक्ती दया, शेतीमालाला दीडपट भावाची हमी दया, स्वामिनाथन आयोगाच्या रास्त भावाच्या शिफारशींची अंमलबजावणी करा, वनाधिकार कायद्याची संपूर्ण अंमलबजावणी करा, पुनर्वसनाचे प्रश्न निर्माण न करता पश्चिम वाहिनी नद्यांचे समुद्राला मिळणारे पाणी पूर्वेकडे वळवून महाराष्ट्रातील शेतकऱ्यांना शेतीला पाणी दया, बोंड आळी व गारपिटीने नुकसान झालेल्या शेतकऱ्यांना एकरी किमान ४० हजार रुपये भरपाई दया, शेतकऱ्यांचे वीजबिल माफ करा, दुधाला किमान ४० रुपये भाव मिळेल यासाठी तातडीने हस्तक्षेप करा, साखरेच्या भावात हस्तक्षेप करून उसाला कारखान्यांनी हंगाम सुरू होताना जाहीर केलेला भाव देणे बंधनकारक करा, विकास कामांच्या बहाण्याने शेतकऱ्यांच्या जमिनी त्यांच्याकडून काढून घेण्याचे कारस्थान बंद करा या प्रमुख मागण्यांसाठी हा लॉंग मार्च व बेमुदत घेराव करण्यात येणार आहेत. 

डॉ. अशोक ढवळे, आ.जे.पी.गावीत, किसन गुजर, डॉ. अजित नवले, सुनील मालुसरे, बारक्या मांगात, इरफान शेख, सावळीराम पवार, सुभाष चौधरी, इंद्रजीत गावीत, रतन बुधर, रडका कलांगडा आदी या आंदोलनाचे नेतृत्व करणार आहेत.


डॉ. अशोक ढवळे     (अखिल भारतीय अध्यक्ष, किसान सभा) 

आ.जे.पी.गावित      (माजी राज्य अध्यक्ष, किसान सभा)    

किसन गुजर         (राज्य अध्यक्ष, किसान सभा)       
डॉ. अजित नवले     (राज्य सरचिटणीस, किसान सभा)