Jagatsinghpur: Noted Gandhian leader and social crusader Anna Hazare today urged thousands of farmers to launch a “do-or-die” movement for their rights on the lines of the one shown by the Father of the Nation, Mahatama Gandhi against the British Raj.
Blaming the Centre and the state governments for neglecting lakhs of farmers in the country, the renown social activist said the community would not be heard unless it raised its voice loudly.
“Gandhiji had given the ‘do-or-die’ clarion call to oust the British rulers and lakhs came to the streets. Now the time has come for the farmers to launch a similar kind of ‘do-or-die’ agitation to ensure that their rights are protected,” Anna Hazare said while addressing the “Jai Kisan Samabesh” held here.
He however asked the farmers to follow the principles of non-violence while launching any agitation.
The farmers’ function marked the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Nabakrushna Choudhuri, who ruled the state in the Fifties.
At least 12 farmers had committed suicide in Odisha this year over crop failure and other issues.
Anna Hazare blamed the governments at the Centre and states for not meeting the aspirations of cultivators and told farmers they would not be heard “unless the community raises its voice”.
Anna said he planned to sit on a dharna in the national capital at New Delhi and also visit at least eight states and appeal to farmers to launch a non-violent agitation against the prevailing situation.
“I will again sit on a dharna in New Delhi early next year for farmers’ rights and the proper implementation of the Lokpal Act,” he said.
He asked farmers to maintain Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of non- violence.
“Otherwise, the governments will break your movement. The farmers can only win if they adopt non-violence,” Anna said at the function organised by the Navnirman Krishak Sangathan (NKS).
Noting that non-violence was a very powerful tool against the might of governments and politicians, Anna Hazare said he had been successful in ousting eight corrupt ministers from office with the help of peaceful agitations.
Seeking to infuse enthusiasm among the gathered masses, he urged them to ensure there was “no space in jails across the country”.
“Going to a jail for the nation is not a bad thing, but a matter of pride,” he said.
Anna told the gathering that farmers must get the proper price for their produce and pension after attending the age of 60 years.
Attacking the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre, he said, “Though Narendra Modi during electioneering had promised to give one-and-half times the cost of production as the minimum support price on agricultural products, he forgot it (the promise) after coming to the power”.
“Now, the government has turned blind and deaf. Only farmers can wake the politicians in slumber,” he said.
Hazare also appealed to the farmers to refrain from drinking alcohol or taking tobacco or other intoxicants.
“As a mark of respect to Nabakrushna Choudhuri, you should refrain from taking any kind of intoxication. Take a pledge today,” he urged.