Listen farmers and farmers orgs: 200 Indian academics to govt

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A group of 200 Indian academics have said in a joint statement that the Narendra Modi government has failed to hold due deliberations with farmers before enacting the Central farm laws.

“Centre instead of attending to the genuine concerns of farmers has responded with high-handedness, misinformation campaign resulting in a standoff and leaving farmers high and dry on the borders of Delhi,” reads the statement.

The signatories of the statement include scientists and professors at some of the prestigious academic institutions in the country, including the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore; Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur; India Institute of Technology Madras; National Center For Biological Sciences, Bangalore; University of Hyderabad; among others.

“We are particularly concerned that these reforms render small farmers vulnerable to exploitation by large-scale buyers by creating unregulated markets,” it said.

The academics further said: “We strongly believe that real reforms are sorely needed to protect the livelihoods of the millions of farmers who bring food to our plate despite enormous hardships. However, 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.”

The signatories also said that the new controversial farm laws cotouted by the G
government as historic and sweeping in their nature, have been passed without much deliberation or discussion in parliamentary committees, unlike other successful acts that often go through a year of deliberation before being passed.

According to the statement, the new agri laws have been enacted without consulting the farmers or farmers organizations who are the real stakeholders and who will be the most impacted.

The academics called 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.