Prayagraj- The opposition to mining in the Hasdeo-Aranya forests witnessed a significant development as local farmers engaged with Rakesh Tikait, the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU). In collaboration with the union, a nationwide protest has been called for, advocating the conservation of the forests and bringing this cause to the forefront of attention.
This call emerged on the third day of the Bharatiya Kisan Union's program 'Kisan Mahakumbh' at Prayagraj, following a significant emphasis on the concerns raised by farmers from Chhattisgarh. They actively engaged in an extensive discussion regarding the ongoing movement related to the Hasdeo-Aranya forests.
The Mooknayak talked to Praveen Kranti, who is Chhattisgarh’s state in-charge from Bharatiya Kisan Union, regarding the recent developments.
The farmers' union has decided to conduct a protest against the government. But this time, the Hadeo-Aranya protests will reach every part of the nation. Kranti disclosed, “In response to these concerning developments, our organization has unequivocally conveyed its intention to escalate the protest on a national scale. To send a strong message to the government, an initial small-scale demonstration is planned near the Uttar Pradesh-Chhattisgarh border. The date for this protest will be determined later, taking into account the unfolding events related to the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the ongoing protests concerning Hasdeo.”
In solidarity with the farmers and tribals of Chhattisgarh, the national spokesperson affirmed their support and commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against deforestation in Hasdev. The spokesperson hinted at the possibility of a nationwide movement if required.
Kranti further discussed the support extended by the Bharatiya Kisan Union to the demonstrators in Hasdeo. He stated, "The situation in Hariharpur prompted our organization to take action and assess the ongoing developments on January 7th. A visit was made to the area last year as well, during which the tree felling due to mining activities had reportedly ceased. However, our recent visit revealed that the cutting down of trees has started on a larger scale."
He then disclosed details of the conversation that transpired between the farmers from Chhattisgarh and their National Spokesperson, stating, "In discussions with activists leading the protest, we learned that the loss of habitat has resulted in wild elephants damaging 10 houses in the nearest basti (settlement)."o wild elephants damaging 10 houses in the nearest basti (settlement).”
The National spokesperson of the Kisan Union, Rakesh Tikait, held discussions with farmers from Chhattisgarh to address the pressing issue of deforestation in Hasdeo, a region of the state. The conversation revealed the severe consequences of the ongoing deforestation, highlighting its detrimental effects on local communities, wildlife, and irrigated land. One of the primary concerns emphasized during the meeting was the threat posed to human life as a consequence of environmental degradation in Hasdeo.
During the dialogue, the spokesperson highlighted the forced migration of animals and birds, attributing it to the rampant deforestation in the region. This ecological disturbance not only disrupts the natural habitats of various species but also leads to adverse consequences for the surrounding ecosystem. Moreover, Takait expressed concern about the government's role in stifling the voices of farmers, labourers, and tribal communities while very visibly endorsing capitalist interests.
‘Kisan Mahakumbh’ of 2024:
The Bharatiya Kisan Union is observing the National Convention Kisan Mahakumbh from 16th – 18th January in Prayagraj. According to Ram Raji Dhul Ponkrikhedi, the district press spokesperson for the union, this gathering has been an annual tradition for about 35 years, originally initiated by the late Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Tikait. Over the years, it has attracted the participation of numerous farmers and labourers from across the country.
The multiple-day national convention organized by the Bharatiya Kisan Union is being organized this year at the Parade Ground in Prayagraj district, Uttar Pradesh. It has emerged as a gathering for farmers across various states. The participating states included Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and Western Uttar Pradesh.
Throughout the convention, representatives from different states, alongside members of the National Executive, convened for three crucial sessions. These sessions served as a platform for farmers to engage in extensive discussions, sharing perspectives on the challenges prevalent in their respective states.