Interview: Satnam Singh Pannu, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee

‘We have only one demand: Repeal the farm laws,’ says Satnam Singh Pannu

Print edition : January 15, 2021

Satnam Singh Pannu (centre with the brown turban), president, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, at the Singhu Border. Photo: T.K. Rajalakshmi

Interview with Satnam Singh Pannu, president, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.

THE Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) is part of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and one of the 40 farmer organisations taking part in the farmers’ agitation. Although it claims to have a presence all over Punjab, its main support base is in Tarn Taran district from where thousands of farmers have arrived to participate in the protests against the farm Acts. Satnam Singh Pannu, president of the KMSC, spoke to Frontline soon after he addressed a public meeting at the Singhu border, one of the main protest sites of the present agitation. Excerpts:

It is almost a month since the protests at the Delhi borders began. What is your assessment of the present situation?

The government is trying its level best to discredit the movement. Apne Bande Khade Karke [by propping up their people], they are trying to project that farmers are in favour of the laws. They won’t succeed. We are countering it and explaining to people what the farm laws are all about. The government has lots of resources, including the media, which it is using for its own propaganda.

Is it a movement only of farmers in Punjab and Haryana as is being projected by the government?

No, it is an all-India movement. We have farmers from all neighbouring States. If the government resumes passenger train services, people will see how many more farmers will join in against the farm laws. There is no section of farmers that is not with us. Yeh jaaney waaley log nahi hain [they are not going to move from here]. Leadership ne roka hua hai aur peaceful protest ka call diya hai. Discipline maintain kiya hua hai [The farmer leadership has stopped them from pushing ahead. It is a call for a peaceful protest and discipline has been maintained throughout].

Also read: The duplicity of the farm laws, or how they do not help farmers

The government has been inviting all of you for talks and says that farmers have not stated what their demands are.

That is not true. The government knows what our demands are. It is deliberate. They are trying to mislead the public. There is only one demand: repeal the farm laws. Lambi chaudi baat nahi hai [it is not a complicated question at all]. Minimum support price ke alaava gujar basar nahi hai [without MSP, it is impossible to survive]. Farmers have left their homes and work and are enduring the cold weather. They were compelled to launch a movement. It has not been out of choice.

How long do you think this protest can sustain itself?

We have rations that can last for up to a year. As of now, we are prepared to sit for two to six months. All the gurdwaras are helping us. Residents of Delhi are helping us as well. We expect more farmers to join in on December 26. Everyone has been given a roster. We are in lakhs. Our organisation is all over Punjab. There is support for this protest as everyone—the farmer and the agricultural worker—understands the negative effects of the farm laws.

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