Thousands of Farmers March to Shimla, Demand Land Rights

Distressed farmers converged at the Vidhan Sabha to protest against forced evictions, milk prices and the lack of action against the menace of wild animals.

New Delhi: Thousands of protesting farmers marched to the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha under the aegis of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) – the CPI(M)’s farmer front – to protest against forced evictions from the lands that they till, the price of milk in the state and the government’s failure to control the menace of wild animals.

According to the AIKS, more than five thousand farmers participated. “More than five thousand farmers came from different parts of Himachal Pradesh to join the protest. For a hill state five thousand is a large number,” said Vijoo Krishnan, joint secretary, AIKS.

The state government has been evicting farmers from lands accusing them of ‘encroachment on forest lands’. As a result of the drive, several apple orchards have been destroyed.

“The farmers have been tilling on these lands for years now. And the government has illegally been evicting them and destroying their plantations,” said Krishnan.

The AIKS has given a memorandum of their demands to the government of Himachal Pradesh. Some of their demands are:

–  Stop eviction of farmers from their lands and their homes

– Stop cutting of electricity and water to homes

– Give 5 bigha land free to landless and poor peasants

– Protect crops from menace of wild animals

– Ensure minimum Rs 30 per litre for milk

“We have given this memorandum of demands and we demand action. In the meantime, we will be going from village to village and will build mobilisation,” Krishnan said.