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'Extent of Falsehoods Astounding': Farmers Launch Nationwide Protest Against Allegations in NewsClick FIR

"SKM categorically rejects all allegations made in the FIR against the Farmers’ Movement, the same being false and motivated," the group said in a statement.

New Delhi: The Samkyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) – the umbrella body of farmers’ organisations that was formed during the agitation against the contentious and now repealed farm laws – has announced a nationwide protest for what it has called the Narendra Modi government’s “renewed attack” on farmers, by mentioning the protests in the FIR against NewsClick.

“SKM categorically rejects all allegations made in the FIR against the Farmers’ Movement, the same being false and motivated,” the group said in a statement.

The FIR against NewsClick editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and two others states, “The accused persons have also conspired to disrupt supplies and services essential to the life of community in India and abet damage and destruction of property by protraction of farmers’ protest through such illegal foreign funding…

“The objective of above nexus was to promote… funding farmers’ agitation with the objective of causing huge loss of several hundred crores to Indian economy and create internal law and order problems in India.”

The SKM has said it is “shocked” to learn of these allegations, and farmers neither destroyed any properties nor disrupted any supply lines. “By violently stopping the farmers from exercising their democratic right of reaching the nation’s capital, through barbed wire fencing, water cannons, lathi charge and digging up roads, it is the Union Govt. that caused great inconvenience to the people of the nation and the farmers …It is the Govt. that conspired with crony capitalists to grab and capture food production and supply chains, destroying food security of the people and economy of the nation,” the SKM’s statement says.

It is not surprising, the statement says, that the Delhi Police that comes under the Union home ministry is making false allegations, “though the extent of the falsehoods is astounding”.

SKM has also expressed its solidarity with NewsClick and other independent media organisations.

“SKM announces nationwide mass protests against this BJP-led Union Govt for its renewed attack on the Farmers’ Movement through the Newsclick FIR. Every state capital, district head quarter, tehsil head quarter shall see mass protest gatherings demanding immediate withdrawal of the false and scurrilous allegations made against the Farmers’ Movement in the Newsclick FIR,” the statement says.

Read SKM’s full statement below.

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The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) is shocked to learn about the scurrilous and malafide allegations made against the historic SKM-led Farmers’ Movement at Delhi, in the FIR lodged by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police against media house Newsclick and several journalists. SKM categorically rejects all allegations made in the FIR against the Farmers’ Movement, the same being false and motivated, and unequivocally places on record that:

1) SKM rejects the patently false and mischievous allegations in the FIR that the Farmers’ Movement aimed to “disrupt supplies and services essential to the life of the community in India, abet damage and destruction of property, cause huge loss to the Indian economy and create internal law and order problems, through illegal foreign funding”. Farmers, the annadatas of the nation, participated in a peaceful protest led by the SKM against the anti-farmer and pro-corporate laws and policies of the BJP Govt. No supply was disrupted by farmers. No property was damaged by farmers. No loss to the economy was caused by farmers. No law and order problem was created by farmers. By violently stopping the farmers from exercising their democratic right of reaching the nation’s capital, through barbed wire fencing, water cannons, lathi charge and digging up roads, it is the Union Govt. that caused great inconvenience to the people of the nation and the farmers. Farmers had to sit in protest for 13 long months, under the blazing summer sun, torrential rains and freezing winter cold. It is the Union Govt. and BJP-RSS combine that created law and order problems by mowing down farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri under running vehicles, killing four farmers and one journalist. The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs and his son were behind this attack. Till now the Prime Minister has not removed the delinquent Minister and ensured legal action against the culprits. 735 farmers including Lakhimpur Kheri farmers had to sacrifice their lives to counter the repression by the Modi Government. It is the Govt. that destroyed public property. It is the Govt. that conspired with crony capitalists to grab and capture food production and supply chains, destroying food security of the people and economy of the nation. Funds from China have been received by PM Modi in PM Cares Fund and by Gautam Adani in his business. The Farmers’ Movement succeeded, overcoming enormous hardship and with great sacrifice of the farmers. To belittle such a sacrifice by alleging that the movement was foreign funded and led to acts of terrorism, betrays the arrogance, ignorance and anti-people mindset of the Union Govt.

2) SKM strongly denounces the attempt by the BJP-led Union Govt. to underplay the importance of the immensely patriotic and historic Farmers’ Movement which was against this Govt’s attempt to hand over Indian farming to big corporates including foreign exploiters. It is pertinent to mention that the 3 black farm laws tried to establish legal control of corporates over the cropping pattern through contract farming, over mandis, food processing and food distribution through the Mandi Act and modifications in the Essential Commodities Act, and to do away with Govt. procurement, price support and PDS Ration security. That is why the laws were anti-people and unpatriotic while the Farmers’ Movement was a spontenous expression of a high degree of nationalism. This FIR is a crafty and nefarious plan to portray the Farmers’ Movement as funded by some extraneous sources, a ploy firmly rejected by the Farmers’ Movement during the course of the Movement, and before, due to which the Modi-led BJP-RSS Govt had been forced to surrender its fabricated claims. Indian farming not only provides for food security to 142 crore people, it provides subsistence to 90 crore rural folk, the importance of which was seen by all during the Corona pandemic.

3) Since the Delhi Police is under the control of the Union Govt. and commanded by known anti-farmer leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, it is not surprising that false allegations have been made against the Farmers’ Movement, though the extent of the falsehoods is astounding.

4) SKM understands that the BJP-led Union Govt., still smarting from the humiliation of having to roll back the 3 black farm laws in the face of the determined, democratic and peaceful agitation of lakhs of farmers at the borders of Delhi and throughout the country from November 2020 to December 2021, will continuously try to take revenge against farmers by tainting the Farmers’ Movement and building an anti-farmer narrative.

While the SKM, through its constituent organisations, has already expressed solidarity with independent media houses like Newsclick and with scores of journalists who have the courage to write and publish the truth about this anti-people BJP-led Union Govt. and denounced the nefarious attempts of the Govt. to muzzle and choke their voices through false cases and arrests by illegal misuse of state machinery and power, the SKM once again expresses solidarity with Newsclick and all sections of the independent media and reiterates that it shall support all classes and sections of citizens in ensuring that their rights are not trampled upon by this Govt.

SKM announces nationwide mass protests against this BJP-led Union Govt for its renewed attack on the Farmers’ Movement through the Newsclick FIR. Every state capital, district head quarter, tehsil head quarter shall see mass protest gatherings demanding immediate withdrawal of the false and scurrilous allegations made against the Farmers’ Movement in the Newsclick FIR. Deputations shall be submitted by delegations of the SKM leaders to the President of India, Prime Minster, Union Home Minister, Union Agriculture Minister and Commissioner of Delhi Police to immediately withdraw all allegations against the Farmers’ Movement, failing which sit-in protests and demonstrations shall be held at the offices of all authorities.