The Congress Party and its leader Sonia Gandhi have been propagating far and wide that they have found a “solution” to the land acquisition problem which will be both in favour of the capitalists and the farmers. This is supposed to be the “Haryana model” of land acquisition. The on-going struggles of farmers all across the length and breadth of the state of Haryana against the land acquisition moves of the Haryana government have exposed the myth that there is a meeting ground between the farmers struggle for livelihood and the capitalists drive for maximum profits.
In Sirsa District, the granary of Haryana, where in the most fertile lands exist, farmers have been carrying on a prolonged agitation against acquisition of their lands by the state allegedly for industrial development.
Under the banner of the Kisan Kalyan Samiti, farmers of Vaidwala, Khairpur, Sikandarpur, Bajenka, Kanganpur, Nejodela, Shamshabad Patti, Khajkheda, Panjuana, and other villages have been carrying on dharnas and demonstrations at the office of the mini secretariat in Sirsa town. The farmers have chalked out an action plan for continued indefinite protests at various government offices using forms such as gherao, chakka jam, effigfy burning, etc.
This was announced in a press release issued by the samiti after a dharna on September 30, 2010. The dharna was addressed by leaders such as Ashok Kumar Batla of village Vaidwala, as well as leaders from afar such as Ramesh Dalal (Bahadugarh), Guruji Hanuman Prasad Sharma, (Rajasthan), Pradhan hansraj from Gorakhpur, and Jaichand. The dharna was held under the chairmanship of Sardar Puran Singh.
What are the farmers of Sirsa agitated about? They are opposed to forcible acquisition of their lands, their only means of livelihood. They are also pointing out that the state is acting as a middleman and acquiring land at the rate of Rs 200 per sq yard and selling it at Rs.10,000 per sq yard. The state and the land mafia are extracting huge profits as middlemen. The farmers are demanding that the colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894 be annulled and a new law be drafted which would take into account the interests of the farmers. They are demanding that wherever land needs to be acquired for public purpose, a committee be established which will include representatives of the affected farmers. They have pointed out that much of the land acquired earlier for residential plots and industrial areas in Sirsa remains unused, under the control of the land mafia, while new lands are sought to be acquired, depriving farmers and agricultural workers of their livelihood.
The farmers struggle in Sirsa Distict comes against the backdrop of militant struggles of farmers in Bahadaurgarh district and Fatehbad District.
In Bahadurgarh, the government of Haryana has withdrawn the notices of land acquisition for a proposed cyber city, following an indefinite agitation by farmers of 12 villages against acquisition of their lands. This has come as a big boost for the farmers’ struggles throughout the state.
In Fatehbad District, Gorakhpur area, farmers are fighting against acquisition of their lands for a proposed nuclear power plant. There is a big rally planned for the tenth of October, 2010.
In all these struggles, one thing stands out. The farmers are rejecting the political parties of the ruling class, both those in power and in opposition. They have been organising themselves in fighting sangathans. Organisations such as Lok Raj Sangathan have been playing an important role in providing consciousness, a vision, and organisation to the farmers in their struggle.