New Delhi: Social activist Anna Hazare on Monday said he will launch an agitation in New Delhi in January on issues concerning farmers if the Centre did not take a firm decision on his demands. In a press release issued in his native village Ralegan Siddhi in adjoining Ahmednagar district, the veteran anti-corruption crusader said he has decided to “resume” his protest in Delhi from next month and has informed the Centre about his agitation.
The release did not provide the date of launch of the agitation. Hazare said he had been holding protests for cultivators since the last three years, but the government has done nothing to resolve the issues.
For various demands related to farmers, I first sat on a hunger strike at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi on March 21, 2018. “On the seventh day, the then Minister of State for Agriculture, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis came to meet me,” said Hazare in the release.
That time they gave written assurance accepting the demands, but they were never fulfilled, he said. “As a result, I again sat on a hunger strike on January 30, 2019, in Ralegan Siddhi. That time also Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh, MoS for defence Subhash Bhamre and Fadnavis gave written assurance, but the demands were never fulfilled,” said Hazare.
“I have once again decided to resume the protest that has been going on for the last three years, in Delhi in January and a letter tothat effect has been sent to the Centre,” said Hazare. “Take concrete decision or I am firm on my decision ( to resume protest), ” he said.
On Sunday, Hazare had threatened to go on a hunger strike if his demands were not met by the Union government and said it would be his “last protest”. Speaking to reporters in Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare slammed the central government.
“The government is just giving empty promises due to which I do not have any trust left (in the government)…Let’s see, what action the Centre takes on my demands. “They have sought time for a month, so I have given them time till January-end. If my demands are not met, I will resume my huger strike protest. This would be my last protest,” the 83-year-old activist said.
On December 14, Hazare wrote a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar warning of a hunger strike if his demands like the implementation of the MS Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations and granting autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), were not accepted. Senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade recently met Hazare to explain him the details of the three farm laws introduced by the Centre.
Hazare observed a fast on December 8 in support of the Bharat Bandh called by farmer organisations demanding a repeal of the new agri laws. Farmers have been protesting at borders of Delhi for over a month against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The three farm laws, enacted in September, have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country. However, the protesting tillers have dubbed them “anti-farmer” and “pro-corporate”.