Hundreds of farmers from across Karnataka staged a massive rally and sit-in demonstration on Wednesday in this tech hub against the three farm laws enacted by the Centre in September and the Land Reforms Bill the Karnataka legislative Council passed on Tuesday.The day-long rally from the railway station to the Freedom Park in the city centre disrupted vehicular movement, as roads were blocked and the traffic diversion caused grid lock in the central business district during office hours."About 10,000 farmers descended on the city in trains, buses, vans and tractors from across the state to protest against the three farm laws and the Land Reforms Bill, a day after participating in the 'Bharat bandh' on Tuesday in their respective towns and villages," Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha president Kodihalli Chandrashekar told IANS here.As police prevented the farmers from going to the Vidhana Soudha (secretariat) due to the ban order on large gatherings owing to the winter session of the state legislature since Monday, their leaders were allowed to go to the Raj Bhavan and present a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala through an official."The Modi government should withdraw the three farm laws as they are against our interest and welfare. Similarly, we have urged the Governor not to clear the Land Reforms Bill passed by the ruling BJP government, as it will allow non-agriculturists and corporates to grab our farm lands across the state," asserted Chandrashekar.
Besides the members of trade unions and workers' associations, hundreds of pro-Karnataka Rakshna Vedike (protection forum) activists participated in the rally and demonstration."The state government should also withdraw the anti-farmer APMC Bill passed in the Assembly in September, as it makes farmers vulnerable to sell their crops to corporates below the minimum support price (MSP) and outside the APMC yard (mandi)," Chandrashekar said.Addressing the farmers and workers at the Freedom Park, leaders of various farmers' organisations from across the state threatened to intensify their agitation against the Central and state governments till the farm laws are repealed and the Land Reforms Bill and the APMC Bill are withdrawn.Defending the twin Bills, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said in the state Assembly that the farmers were being misled by the opposition parties like the Congress and the "middlemen", whose monopoly has been ended in the APMC yards by allowing farmers to sell their produce to anyone and anywhere."The Land Reforms Bill has been passed to enable even non-agriculturists to buy agricultural lands and take to farming to increase production of foodgrains and cash crops, including vegetables, fruits and flowers," said Yediyurappa.