Apologies Expected From Chief Minister

Agriculture City State

Protest by rice and sugarcane farmers at Freedom Park

Bangalore, Nov.19, 2018

The Chief Minister’s remarks on farmers and women lead to heavy criticism. Around 4000 farmers from different parts of Karnataka staged a protest in Bangalore today. They arrived at Krantiveera Sangoli Railway station at 6 a.m. – by then the police was already patrolling the area. Initially, the farmers wanted to start their protest from Freedom Park, but the police blocked them. The farmers belonged to a farmer union called Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangha (KRRS).

Syed Khadir, state organizing secretary of KRRS, said, “Due to lesser rainfalls this year, all my rice and sugarcane crops have dried. We demand a rise in MSP from 2000 bucks to 3500. The government has no fixed rate set for our produce. We have to sell it to the corporate parties, who buy it for very cheap rates. ”

The farmers aim to reach the Vidhan Soudha so that they can talk to the CM and convince him to meet their demands regarding MSP and loan waiver.

Sebastian Crosta, a Mangalorean farmer, told the softcopy newspaper, “This protest is a result of anger caused because the CM didn’t keep his promises. Before Kumaraswamy was elected, he promised that all our crop / tractor loans will be terminated (the entire corporate loan, off). It’s been six months, but he has not done anything. He has only disappointed us. And now he doesn’t want to meet us.”

The protest was a peaceful protest but the police was ready with several tanks and lathis. Also when at 10:30 a.m., the farmers moved from the station to go to Vidhan Soudha, the police blocked them with five or six big vans at Sheshadri Road, near Freedom Park.

Shamshad Begum, a farmer from Ballari district said, “We are part of Mahila Ghata Sangha, a sub-wing for the women. We are here to talk to the CM and make him apologize. His behavior and his words towards female farmers were rude and humiliating. He told one of the farmers that we were sleeping for 4 years and now are creating a ruckus. I want to justify that with the thought that just because we don’t stage protests every day and place our demands in the forefront, doesn’t mean we are satisfied. We have dried crops, resulting in 90 percent crop sales failure. He should apologize”

Their attempt to go to Vidhan Soudha failed and had to resort to protest at Freedom Park. The CM didn’t meet them, and Deputy CM was sent to listen to farmers. Farmers like Hanumanta Kodaikanal from Raichur face a loss of 20-30 thousand Rupees per acre land.

Rammana Malgund, a farmer seen in Gandhi costume told the Softcopy, “I have a folder filled with many ‘progressive farmer of the year’ awards by the Karnataka government. I want to return all of these. I want money and crop sales, not these fake awards.”

The President of Karnataka Karmika Kalyana Prathishtana, Mallikarjuna Raju, filed a complaint against the CM for ‘the derogatory and objectionable remarks / statements against women and farmers.’

Contribution By Riya Sethi