Activist Anna Hazare on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and reiterated his decision to launch “the last hunger strike” of his life on farmers’ issues in Delhi by January end. The letter came as farmer unions are agitating on Delhi borders against the Centre’s new farm laws.
Speaking to reporters later, Hazare said the new farm laws do not conform to “democratic values” and people’s participation is necessary in the drafting of legislations. He will stage a fast in the national capital by month-end, 83-year-old Hazare said in the letter to the PM, without specifying the date.
On December 14, Hazare had written to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, warning of a hunger strike if his demands including the implementation of the M S Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations on agriculture were not met. Another demand made by him was grant of autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.
“On the issue of farmers, I have had correspondence (with the Centre) five times, however, no response came. “As a result, I have decided to go on the last hunger strike of my life,” said Hazare in his missive to the prime minister on Thursday.
He wrote four letters to the concerned authority to seek permission to stage hunger strike at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi but no response came from their side too, he said. Hazare, who was in the forefront of anti-corruption movement in 2011, reminded that when he went on a hunger strike at the Ramlila Maidan, the then UPA government had called a special session of Parliament.
“In that session, you and your senior ministers (leaders of the BJP, which was then in opposition at the Centre) had praised me, but now despite giving written assurances over the demands, you are not fulfilling them,” he said. He was enclosing a video of opposition MPs praising him in Parliament then, Hazare said.
Speaking with a local news channel later, Hazare also commented on the farmers’ agitation on Delhi borders, saying people should be involved in the process of drafting of laws. “These (farm) laws are not in keeping with democratic values. If the government allows people’s participation in the drafting of bills, it would be able to make laws the way people want them to be,” he added.
He also termed the Supreme Court’s stay to the implementation of the laws as a “moral defeat” of the government, and praised the farmers for protesting in a peaceful manner. “If the farmers carry on the agitation in a non- violent way, the government would not be able to do anything.The moment it turns violent, the government will crush it,” the Gandhian activist said. Hazare also said he does not see any immediate end to the impasse between the government and farmers as both sides are “adamant” on their stands.