Farmers prepare food as they gather at Jantar Mantar to protest against the Land Bill, in New Delhi
La drastica riduzione dei sussidi all'agricoltura ha portato al suicidio di 7000 contadini in India: il governo è sul banco degli imputati per aver abbandonato il settore e aver ridotto il budget dedicato all'agricoltura in un momento difficile che ha visto anche un calo del prezzo dei prodotti agricoli.
Secondo il coordinamento dei contadini indiani 'All India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement', il governo di Narendra Modi e la coalizione 'National Democratic Alliance' sono saliti al potere grazie ai fondi ricevuto dalle lobby degli OGM.
L'industria OGM detiene i diritti delle sementi che vengono promosse nei programmi di sviluppo in atto in molti paesi. Secondo i dimostranti, il governo ha spinto verso il geneticamente modificato dopo aver ricevuto lauti finanziamenti per la campagna elettorale.
I manifestanti inoltre chiedono la revisione delle linee guida che li legano ai brevetti OGM. Queste includono una percentuale sulle vendite da corrispondere ai detentori del brevetto del seme.
Sulla questione dei suicidi era già intervenuta in ottobre Vandana Shiva, leader indiana del vasto movimento mondiale contro gli Organismi Geneticamente Modificati, che aveva dichiarato, in una intervista a Repubblica: 'Gli agenti della Monsanto che vendono sementi OGM, fertilizzanti e pesticidi, sono gli stessi che fanno il credito. Il contadino prima si indebita per le semenze di cotone, poi scopre di dover comprare più fertilizzanti e pesticidi e s'indebita ancora'.
'Prima che arrivasse la Monsanto le sementi locali di cotone costavano da 5 a 10 rupie il chilo. Il monopolio costruito dalla Monsanto ha fatto salire i prezzi a 3.555 rupie il chilo di cui 1.200 sono royalties. Laddove la Monsanto ha dovuto ridurre i prezzi, per esempio nell'Andra Pradesh, è successo grazie alle nostre pressioni sull'antitrust locale'.
Street protests are gaining momentum against the proposed Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
A large farmers’ protest was organised in Delhi by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) along with the All India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (AICCFM).
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav joined Naresh and Rakesh Tikait of the BKU to demand 100 per cent of farmers’ consent before land is acquired.
“Successive governments have cheated farmers for years. Can the government buy or sell any other land without the approval of its owner? In the 2013 version of the Land Acquisition Act, a few allowances were made for farmers but now even these are being removed,” said Yadav.
He added that the BJP had been unable to get the green signal from the party’s own farmers’ union but were proceeding with the controversial ordinance in the name of development.
BKU president Naresh Tikait said farmers do not want to obstruct development but protests would continue unless the Centre meets them and accedes to their demands.
“These amendments in the Land Acquisition Bill were introduced without any discussions with farmers. Our basic demand is that farmers’ assent is a must and fertile land should not be acquired for private or even public-private projects,” he said.
Yadav also asserted that urea shortages in the country this year had been artificially created and meant to take advantage of farmers.
“It was created only to decontrol the sector. It’s as if there’s no respect for farmers in the country any longer so the only way to retaliate is through demonstrations like these,” he said.
He was addressing a packed assembly that had farmers from all over the country, a sizeable number of whom had made the trip to the Capital from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Political parties are simultaneously taking to streets in different States. In Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar sat on a day-long fast last Saturday to register his protest against the proposed Bill while his colleague, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, led a march in Patna the very next day. DMK chief M Karunanidhi too has announced that his party will organise a protest in Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, later this week.
A Joint Forum against the Land Acquisition Bill 2015, which includes farmers’ wings of the communist parties and activist groups, has called for observing March 23, the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru, as Land Rights Day.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) of the CPI will organise district or block-level functions across the country.
“The AIKS has called upon the peasantry to prepare for an intensive and protracted struggle to defeat the nefarious design of the NDA government to steal the hard won right of the peasants on land,” said RC Yadav on behalf of the AIKS.
Land Acquisition in India refers to the process of land acquisition by the central or state government of India for various infrastructure and economic growth initiatives. Several controversies have arisen with claims that land owners have not been adequately compensated. The government passed Land Acquisition Amendment  Bill in Lok Sabha on 10 March 2015.
“This is land grab. Britishers used to do it. Today’s government is worst (sic) than the British regime. Even the British did not met out so much of injustice to farmers,” Hazare said, according to Indian daily The Hindu.
A farmer checks his wheat crop damaged in the rain in a village near Amritsar. (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)