GUWAHATI, Nov 10 – Thousands of farmers from across the State on Sunday demanded a progressive land policy, right over natural resources, market, and knowledge under the banner of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS).
The people’s rights convention, organized by the KMSS at the Lakhidhar Bora Khetra and presided over by its president Akhil Gogoi, was attended by men, women and young boys and girls from different parts of rural Assam.
The venue of the meet being too small to accommodate such a huge assembly, the crowd spilled out to the adjacent roads blocking the streets to a great distance. Security too was beefed up in the entire area as a precautionary measure and movement of vehicles was restricted.
The convention was attended by intellectuals, student leaders and other prominent citizens including internationally reputed environmental activist and anti-globalization author Vandana Shiva. This activist who has been propagating for a paradigm shift in farming, food and technology practices, kept the masses captivated with her thought-provoking but pragmatic ideas.
Calling for an end to the authority of multi-national companies over seeds, Shiva emphasized the need for conservation of the native variety of seeds and pointed out that it is the farmers who should have the right over seeds and not the multi-national companies.
She appealed to the farmers to make use of the native seeds and thus reclaim their seed sovereignty.
Shiva, who has also been vocal against bio-piracy, asserted that in the backdrop of the corporations seeking to patent indigenous crops, animals and method of farming, it has become an important task for the communities to thwart such moves and proclaim their right over traditional knowledge.
“The elected representatives are working for promoting the interest of the multi-national companies and not for the people. The faulty economic policies of the government in the last couple of decades have ruined the fortune of the masses and particularly the farmers,” said Shiva stressing for independence from corporations which are guided by their own interests only.
On the other hand, Dr Hiren Gohain who addressed the gathering prior to Shiva, came down heavily on the government for failing to meet the aspirations of the people. Mentioning that the government has betrayed the citizens, Dr Gohain appealed to the masses to unite and fight for their rights.
Observing that mistrust and lack of restraint have divided the indigenous communities, Dr Gohain said that unity is the key to making a people’s movement successful. He further said that force cannot silent the voice of the struggling masses or their movement.