Hundreds of farmers from Rajasthan belonging to the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh launched an indefinite stir in eight cities across the state on Thursday, reported IANS. The farmers are demanding a loan waiver, rise in Minimum Support Price, a special session of the state Assembly to discuss their issues, formulating farmer-friendly agricultural policies and implementation of irrigation projects.

“Farmers in hundreds are sitting across the state at divisional headquarters in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Bikaner, Bharatpur and Sikar. We want the government to listen and do something for welfare of farmers,” BN Chaudhary, a BKS functionary. “The state government should make it a crime for crops to be purchased below MSP,” Chaudhary said, also claiming that the government was instead trying to stop farmers from participating in the protest. BKS is an affiliate organisation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Vasundhara Raje government has cancelled the leave of district collectors and police officials in view of the developing situation in the state, and tightened security around the sites of the protests. To pacify the farmers, the government has also begun to procure of garlic and has extended the date of wheat procurement to June 30.

On Wednesday, Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot had demanded a loan waiver for farmers in the state, reported PTI. “If the government can waive loans of farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, then why cannot loans of farmers in Rajasthan be waived?” he asked.

Protests in other states

Farmer protests have erupted in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra over the past few weeks. In Madhya Pradesh, five farmers were killed in police firing during a protest in Mandsaur on June 6.

Farmers in Maharashtra have been protesting since June 1. They want fair prices for their produce and loan waivers from the BJP government. The Devendra Fadnavis government decided to waive farmer loans on June 11 after a 10-day long protest by farmers.