Nearly 200 women protesting the Centre’s new agriculture laws gathered at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Monday for a “kisan sansad” or farmers’ parliament, PTI reported. The women farmers reached Jantar Mantar from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
They raised slogans seeking the scrapping of the three legislations – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Since July 22, agitating cultivators have been holding the “kisan sansad”, parallel to the proceedings at the Monsoon Session in the Indian Parliament. The protestors have been discussing how the farm laws destroyed the mandi or agricultural markets system.
Subhashini Ali, vice-president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, moderated the all-women farmers’ parliament on Monday. “Today’s ‘sansad’ will showcase the strength of women. Women can farm as well as run the country and today, everybody here is a politician,” she said.
“The government keeps calling us (farmers) by different names like terrorists, Khalistanis, etc. but if they have the strength, then they should not eat the food produced by these terrorists and Khalistanis,” she continued.
The protestors passed two resolutions at the event, The Tribune reported. “Even though women contribute quite significantly to our farming, they do not receive the dignity, recognition and status that they ought to in the country,” the first resolution said.
It also sought more recognition for women farmers labour, hard work and skills. “There should be well-thought-out measures adopted to increase the role and space for women in the Kisan Andolan [farmers’ protest],” the resolution said.
The second resolution demanded 33% reservation for women in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies, similar to the quota that exists in panchayats.
Actor Gul Panag, who was present at the protest, tweeted images of the farmers’ parliament.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have camped at the borders of Delhi since November, braving the cold, heat and rain, firm on their demand that the central government repeal the three laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies.
The farmers fear the central government’s new laws will make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime.
The Centre, however, says that the laws will give farmers more access to markets and boost production through private investment.
In January, nearly two months into the protest movement, the Supreme Court suspended the implementation of the farm laws. It instead set up a committee and tasked it to consult stakeholders and assess the impact of the laws.
Talks between farmers groups and the central government to resolve the protests came to a complete deadlock after farmers rejected the Centre’s offer to suspend the laws for two years. The last time both sides met was on January 22. Since then, most farmer leaders have said they were willing to speak to the government again.