Rajasthan Farmer Protest Ends After Nearly A Month Of Deadlock; Know Why The Farmers Had ‘Buried’ Themselves In Ground
Since October 2, hundreds of farmers in Rajasthan had ‘buried’ themselves in ground to enable talks between them and the Vasundhara Raje-led government.
— Tabeenah Anjum (@TabeenahAnjum) October 21, 2017
After nearly a month of deadlock, the talks between representatives of the Neendar Bachao Yuva Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and the government ended the farmers’ protest yesterday, October 30.
Why were the farmers protesting?
The Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) had been acquiring agricultural land, allegedly at very low rates, for a housing project which led hundreds of farmers to protest.
More than 800 farmers, including 500 female farmers had renounced food, thus going on hunger strike at the protest site.
According to an NDTV report, the JDA had started purchasing land in 2010 in Nindar, a village around 20 km away from Jaipur. The farmers had claimed that the compensation was barely enough, given the market rates have spiralled in seven years.
The protest was led by Ninder Bachao Kisan Yuva Samiti (NBKYS) which had proposed to the JDA commissioner that a fresh land survey should be conducted with specific points in mind.
The JDA had planned to acquire 1,300 bighas of land –1,100 bighas of which is privately owned – for a housing scheme announced in January 2011, reported Hindustan Times. It had already taken possession of 600 bighas by early October and deposited Rs 60 crore in court for the acquired land.
According to the JDA plan, the proposed project would have had as many as 10,000 houses.
Dr Nagendra Singh Shekhawat, the leader of the protest and President of NBKYS had told Al Jazeera that “nearly 5,000 families, including farmers, are going to be affected by the acquisition”. They did not want to give away the land that they used for agriculture and animals.
Zameen samadhi satyagraha
Rallies and demonstrations had started sometime in mid-September. On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the farmers decided to step up as their cries of help were falling on deaf ears.
They launched the zameen samandhi satyagraha, which translates in English to Burial Satyagraha. The farmers dug pits in the mud and buried themselves neck-deep.
Farmers & their families in Rajasthan burying themselves in mud protesting against govt acquisition of their land. 17th day today. pic.twitter.com/f1T7aE7PUs
— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) October 4, 2017
“We resorted to the zameen samadhi satyagraha, an otherwise unique form of protest, to draw the government’s attention to their grievances. The agitation will continue until the government agrees to our demands,” said Shekhawat, reported Hindustan Times.
The farmers had celebrated Diwali at the protest site by lighting earthen lamps.
— Right to Dissent (@Kractivist) October 20, 2017
Protest ends after almost a month of deadlock
Yesterday, October 30, the deadlock, as the state government had not held any talks with farmers’ representatives, ended.
Talks were held between the representatives of NBKYS and the Rajasthan government. It was held that the JDA will hold a fresh survey for the land. India Today reported that representatives of farmers, during the discussions, agreed that meanwhile construction work will be allowed to begin.
“Deadlock has been resolved as the Government agreed that the JDA will hold fresh survey for the land and once the survey is done, the rate for the land will be decided. We, meanwhile, agreed to let construction work begin on the land. Our agitation can end tomorrow after we get written assurance from the Government,” Shekhawat told India Today.
It is a major relief for the protesting farmers that fresh surveys will be held for the land. However, as written assurance for the government is pending, The Logical Indian community hopes the farmers get a fair rate for their property.