Millions of Farmers Hit Streets to Observe Day of Betrayal and Remind Centre of its Promises

After repealing three farm laws, the Centre had made certain promises to the protesting farmers, including forming a committee on MSP, withdrawal of cases registered during the agitation, and addressal of concerns about the Electricity Amendment Act.Ravi Kaushal 31 Jan 2022

They vacated the agitation sites at the borders of the national capital with the promise that they would return. Realising their promise, the farmers of the country, under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), returned to the streets to remind the Centre about its promises made at the end of the year-long historic struggle. After repealing three contentious farm laws, the Centre had promised the farmers that it would form a committee with clear terms of reference comprising representatives of farmers’ unions, farm experts and agriculture scientists to evolve a mechanism ensuring minimum support price (MSP), ask the state governments to withdraw criminal cases lodged during the agitation and compensate the kin of the deceased farmers and address the concerns about Electricity Amendment Act (ECA).

SKM members maintain that the government did not initiate any action on these promises even after 50 days. The farmers’ body maintained that the Day of Betrayal was observed in more than 500 districts, including large assemblies and processions where the protesters handed over memorandums to the district collectors and commissioners.

Leading one such large procession in Haryana’s Rohtak, Krishna Prashad from All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) told NewsClick that the Centre did not even begin any back-channel dialogue to SKM about the promises.


“We expected the secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Naresh Agarwal, would say anything about the promises, but he is maintaining complete silence. This speaks volumes about the attitude of this government towards farmers. It is not interested in resolution of the issues.”

Jagmati Sangwan, a veteran activist of the women’s movement in the state who played an instrumental role in bringing women into the agitation, said that the families of the victims who died in the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre feel pained whenever they see the accused minister roaming scot-free using state powers to exert his influence. SKM has maintained that Ajay Mishra was the mastermind of the conspiracy in which four farmers and one journalist was mowed down under a jeep. In its inquiry, the Special Investigation Team found that Ashish Mishra, son of Ajay Mishra, was present at the spot of the incident, and he was a willful participant in the carnage.

Talking to NewsClick, Sangwan said, “What is remarkable about this government is that you need to mobilise people every time to remind them about our issues. We first hold meetings and agitations to seek their attention, then hold dharnas again to compel their commitment and finally ask them to act on their promises. There’s nothing new in it, but we are also preparing for the long haul. Please remember, everybody is getting similar treatment from this government. Like farmers, Anganwadi workers were promised that their promises would be fulfilled in 2018. When the Khattar government did not act on its promises, they began their agitation. It is more than a month of their agitation now, braving chilly weather in the open.”

When asked about the reason for the delay in fulfilling promises, she said, “I think it is not only a matter of ego but the pressure of corporate that is deterring this government from acting on promises. Prime Minister never met the agitating farmers on the dialogue table. They brought the laws unilaterally, and they were withdrawn unilaterally. When you do not talk, it is clear that you are egoist and your intentions are ill driven.”

The agitation was joined by many farmers who came to press for special damage assessment by the district administration after unseasonal rains damaged their crops. Prem Singh Rana, who came from Pakasma, told NewsClick that standing crops had been submerged, and the farmers would perish if they did not receive any compensation.


“Many marginal farmers here do not have Kisan Credit Cards, so they cannot get any compensation under Pradhanmantri Fasal Bima Yojana. We do not expect any income this season. We may survive because we have some grains from previous seasons, but meeting other expenses are difficult now. How will we pay the school fee for our children? We will soon starve!”

Similar major protests were observed in Hisar, Sirsa, Fatehabad, Yamunanagar, Ambala and Jind. Neighbouring Punjab too reported massive assemblies across the state even though it is in the midst of Assembly elections. The protesters took processions and burnt effigies in Mansa, Moga, Patiala, Bhatinda, Jagraon, Ludhiana. Jagmohan Singh, Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Union Dakaunda, told NewsClick that the farmers returned to their homes because they trusted the Centre about justice, but it is not delivered.


“We call it betrayal because neither Centre nor state government apprised the farmers about withdrawal of cases. The Centre had confirmed that it would withdraw cases registered by Railway Protection Force and the Delhi Police. It did not act. No farmer in Punjab knows the status of cases registered by the state government. Apart from this, the struggle was ensuring MSP because it is a matter of life and death. Again, it did not act. If this situation persists, we will return to the streets again!”

Amra Ram from SKM Rajasthan told NewsClick that the protest was successfully observed in 22 districts out of 30 districts in the state, where many farmers joined the struggle to express their anguish. Talking to NewsClick over the phone, he said that the discontent runs deeper because of betrayal over promises and sheer mismanagement. They were made to stand in queues for days for essential items like Urea and DAP fertiliser.

“The people are angry because they are not getting what they deserve. Modi government for years patted its back because there was no scarcity of Urea and DAP. We are returning to days we witnessed ten years ago when we faced an acute shortage. I still remember we had a fertiliser factory in Sikar which produced fertiliser for local consumption. The government prioritised import over local production and closed its factories. So, we are bearing the fruits now. What is more ludicrous is the fact that they want to distract attention through another Jumla called zero budget farming which is not only anti-farmer but unscientific too!”

The news about the protests has been pouring in from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Kerala. The uniform memorandum addressed to the President of India by morcha members stated the promise in the letter by the Centre was: “The cases filed against farmers during the farmers’ movement will be withdrawn with immediate effect. Consent to withdraw the case has been given by the Government of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. It is agreed by related departments and agencies of the Government of India to withdraw all the agitation related cases registered against the protesters and supporters in all the Union Territories including Delhi with immediate effect.”

The reality is that no action has been taken by the Union government and state governments of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal on the assurance of withdrawing the cases filed during the agitation. Farmers are constantly getting court summons in these cases. Only the Haryana government has done some paperwork and issued some orders to withdraw the cases. But still, this work is incomplete, and farmers are being summoned.


The government’s promise was: “On MSP, the Honorable Prime Minister himself and later the Honorable Agriculture Minister have announced the formation of a committee. One of the mandates of the committee would be how to ensure that farmers of the country get MSP.”

The reality is that the government has neither announced the committee’s formation on this issue nor has given any information about the nature of the committee and its mandate.

It emphasised that not only has the government retracted on promises ever since the protest was suspended, but the Union government is moving ahead with its anti-farmer agenda. The negotiations on Free Trade Agreement with Australia threaten the existence of the dairy farmers. Amendments to the Biological Diversity Act 2002 is an invitation to biopiracy of the farmers’ wealth. GM food is being allowed through backdoor entry by making new regulations governing the FSSAI. Efforts are being made to cut down on the purchase of the crop with the new quality standard brought in by the Food Corporation of India (FCI).