Hyderabad: Around 200 academicians from different prestigious institutes such as the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the Christ University in Bangalore, the University of Hyderabad, and so on have put out a solidarity statement in support of the farmers protesting the new farm bills introduced by the BJP government at the Centre.
In a the statement, they said that they strongly believe that real reforms should protect the livelihood of millions of farmers, who despite enormous hardships, bring food to our plate every day. They stated that real reforms are successful only when they are based on extensive consultation and consensus-building, particularly with the stakeholders (the farmers) involved and affected by the reforms.
"These reforms, touted by the government as historic and sweeping in their nature, have been passed without much deliberation or discussion in the Parliamentary committees, unlike other successful acts that often go through a year of deliberation before being passed," said the academicians in the statement.
They also mentioned that the government failed to consult the farmers. "The reforms have been enacted without consulting the farmers or farmers organizations who are the real stakeholders and who will be the most impacted by the reforms," read the statement.
They added that the government also failed to acknowledge genuine concerns. "Farmers organisations nationwide have expressed genuine concerns regarding the reforms. The government has flatly refused to acknowledge these concerns. We are particularly concerned that these reforms render small farmers vulnerable to exploitation by large-scale buyers by creating unregulated markets," read the statement.
The academician asked the government to acknowledge the right to peaceful dissent. "Farmers nationwide have organised massive peaceful protests to voice their concern against the farm bills, but the government has responded to these protests with force, high-handedness and misinformation, with no major progress made even till today," the statement read.
They also added that this is a golden opportunity for the government to listen to its people. We call upon the government to protect the right to peaceful and non-violent dissent by the farmers, engage in constructive dialogue and enact genuine reforms to protect small farmers from exploitation, they said.