People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 05, 2006
Braving Repression, Rajasthan Farmers Fight On
THE brutal repression unleashed by the BJP government on the agitating farmers has taken yet another life. A woman kisan, Parameshwari Devi of village 17 KD in Ganganagar district succumbed to her injuries sustained in the police lathicharge on October 20. The police, in the name of searching for four activists, forcibly entered the houses of villagers and bashed up those present, including Parameshwari Devi. In fact, her pregnant daughter-in-law Anju Devi was forced to abort due to the injuries sustained in the police action. Parameshwari Deviís two sons were arrested by the police and are currently lodged in jail.
Like another kisan activist, Chandu Ram Saran, who also died of injuries sustained to skull and legs in the brutal police lathicharge, Parameshwari Devi was also forcibly discharged from the district hospital even before she recovered as the administration was keen to underplay the intensity of its attack. Her death came on the same day Chandu Ram was cremated after a week-long agitation by farmers demanding the government to own up the killing. The Vasundhare Raje government was adamant that the death was not due to police lathicharge in order to escape paying compensation. However, the farmers refused to cremate the body until the government accepted their three demands:
Release of water as promised in the 2004 agreement
Compensation of Rs 5 lakh to Chandu Ram, and provision of a government job to his family member
Guilty police officials involved in the lathicharge to be punished.
Even after four days of non-cremation of the dead body, the state government remained adamant about not conceding these demands. AIKS finance secretary Noorul Huda, who was part of the delegation which toured the area recently, charged the Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhare Raje Scindia of being totally unconcerned about the condition of the peasantry in the state. At a pres conference in Delhi, he said she is trying to cow down the agitation by resorting to use of Army and unleashing a reign of terror in the area. He expressed confidence that the heroic farmers of Rajasthan would once again defeat the government by their relentless struggle.
Ultimately the government had to relent and a senior minister assured to pay compensation to the family of Chandu Ram after receiving the post-mortem report.
Despite this inhuman repression unleashed by the BJP government, the farmers are intensifying their agitation for release of canal water. Their pent-up anger is bursting out and at the time of going to press, a state-wide ĎAnti-Repression Dayí on November 2 was being observed under the leadership of various mass organisations. The agitation is spreading to more areas than the three districts of Sriganganagar, Bikaner and Hanumangarh. The kisans began another padav in Rawatsar on October 31, where the police again resorted to lathicharge, injuring several farmers. The AIKS and AIDWA have strongly condemned this repression of the BJP government against peacefully agitating farmers. From November 6, another Mahapadav will begin in Kajuwala. Earlier, a complete bandh was observed in these three districts on October 30, 2006.
CPI(M) Rajasthan state secretary Vasudev Sharma told media persons that there could be talks between the government and the farmers on November 4. But the statewide agitation will carry on, he asserted.