Hundreds of farmers in Madhya Pradesh and other places of central India have taken up arms to put pressure on the government for a halt to the widespread communal violence in the state. The farmers are demanding that the government do something about the increasing insecurity in their land as well as the worsening financial situation due to low agricultural produce and rising prices. The media is focusing on the agricultural crisis in the state, with one news story after another detailing the daily lives of the rural community in various pockets of Madhya Pradesh. The farmers are demanding an immediate halt to all acts of communal violence and the release of all arrested people from various police custody.
The incidents of communal violence in the state have sparked off a chain reaction. The main drivers behind this violence are the poor economic conditions that have crippled the state’s farming community and the inability of the government to provide basic infrastructure. The lack of proper education facilities in the rural communities has also left them with very little income and even less food on their tables. The community’s inability to meet their basic needs has forced them to take up arms to fight for their rights.
The violence in the state is in fact leading to further alienation of the rural communities. The victims of the attack on the cattle by the community are mostly Muslims. The attack on the community was ignited when the cattle traders refused to allow the farmers to go to their own lands and collect the rents from them. Instead, they abducted the farmers and demanded that they leave immediately. The authorities were not able to contain the ensuing mob of hundreds of villagers which hacked at and burned the traders alive. The entire community was slaughtered in cold blood.
The situation has now taken a new turn with the arrival of winter. With the monsoons, there is no chance for the farmers to go back home. The main problem now is that the community does not have enough money to even go out to work and earn. The lack of jobs and shortage of money has led to a cycle of violence which has taken India’s poor community by a terrible storm.
The rural development projects and the subsidies offered by the government have not helped in this regard. Neither has the increase in the minimum wages led to any increase in income. In short, the farmers are reduced to poverty in order to survive. The government has not been able to provide even the barest of basics to these poor people.
The only hope for the farmers is that the present government has realized their plight and understands their pain. If the present government can provide the requisite funds to the rural community so as to help them out during such times of financial crisis, then the lives of the farmers will be saved. The farmers will be able to at least get some small compensation to help them financially and at least get through the month. The government must take immediate steps to prevent the violence against the farmers.
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