The peasants tasted sweet victory on 1st September in their long struggle for compensation under the Crop Insurance Scheme. The peasant leaders had been discussing the matter with the Additional Superintendent of Police, Sub-divisional Magistrate and officers of the Bank. They came to an agreement that within ten days the compensation under the Crop Insurance Scheme and the additional bank interest charged hitherto would be credited to the accounts of the peasants of Ramgadh, Gorkhana and Bhukarka.
With this victory, the 36-day agitation (mahapadav) which had started on 27th July 2018, came to an end.
Before the maha-padav was concluded, the peasants held a meeting outside the bank to announce the victory. Among those who addressed the meeting were – Lok Raj Sangathan’s All India Vice President – Hanuman Prasad Sharma, District President of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha Balawan Puniya, former Sarpanch of the district Ujjalawas, former President of the Sarpanch Union, Om Sahu, Maniram Lakesar, Dr. Krishna Nokhwal, Manges Chaudhury, Om Sangar and the former Sarpanch of Nathawania, Sadhuram Meghwal, former Sarpanch of Bhilki Jaatan, Dhanpat Ram Nehra, Mangeram Bairad and others.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar has been reporting consistently since May that the banks and private insurance companies have been hand-in-glove in depriving the peasants of their due compensation under the Crop Insurance Scheme. Demonstrations were held before the State Bank branch of Ramgadh block in Hanumangadh district in support of the demand for compensation. Thousands of peasants from Ramgadh, Gorkhana and Bukhraka had been participating in these protests. The compensation due to the peasants from just these 3 villages amounts to Rs.15-20 crores.
At the end of the meeting, a victory procession was taken over 35 kilometers through Gogamadhi and Badra and across the entire area.
This victory was won after a very long and relentless struggle that began on 26th June when hundreds of peasants gheraoed the Ramgadh branch of SBI for 24 hours. At the end of that action, the peasants obtained in writing a commitment from a bank management representative and government official that the compensation would be deposited in the accounts of the peasants by 26th July. When this did not happen till 27th July, then thousands of peasants gathered before the SBI branch for an indefinite gherao.
On 5th August, the peasants locked the doors to the Bank for a day. Peasants from several villages in and around joined the campaign as the agitation of the Ramgadh peasants intensified. They too were victims of the fraud connived by the banks and insurance companies.
On 9th August, the agitating peasants carried out a jail bharo, during which thousands of peasants courted arrest. Following this, on 13th August the peasants gheraoed the SDM’s office in Nohar. After allowing the Administration time till 2 p.m. on 20th August, the peasants blocked the Ganganagar-Delhi highway. Thousands of men and women just sat on the road notwithstanding the severe heat. They lit their stoves right there to make tea for the protestors and even the night meal!
The Administration had to finally relent before the determined action of the thousands of peasants of Ramgadh and fulfil their demands. This long struggle has had a deep impact on peasants all across Rajasthan. Now peasants in every district are preparing to take to the streets to fight for their rights.