At least eight farmers’ unions in Punjab have decided to stage protests across the state on June 12 against police firing in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh. “We have unanimously decided to strongly oppose the action of the MP government in killing the protesting farmers,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) Vice President Jhanda Singh Jethuke and Dakaunda President Buta Singh Burjgill told The Times of India. “The farmers were not indulging in anti-national activities, but were only demanding better prices of their produce and loan waiver.”
Apart from demanding registration of murder case against police personnel responsible for the “unprovoked” firing, they will also ask for farm loan waiver and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, according to The Hindu. The Commission recommends the minimum support prices for crops be fixed at 50% more than the weighted average cost of production. The farmers have also planned a state-level convention on July 7 if the state government fails to announce the loan waiver. “We will hold a state-level convention of farmers on July 7 at Jalandhar, where the action plan will be decided to start a struggle for loan waiver,” the leaders told The Times of India.
The Congress government has, however, hinted at deferring the loan waiver. “An expert committee is working on the subject, and is expected to make its recommendations soon,” an unidentified official at the agriculture department told The Times of India.